Tag Archives: 10 p.m.

It’s Not Easy Being Lavender – A Recap of (U.S.) Skin’s “Tea”

I have a confession to make.  Something happened to me, in between the airing of the pilot episode of (U.S.) Skins and the episode I plan to recap today . . . I discovered (U.K.) Skins and I watched it . . . all of it . . . well, at least the first two seasons.  And, at some point, during those hours (and HOURS, and HOURS) spent watching the series, I fell in love . . . with Tony (the other Tony) . . .

 . . . and Stanley and Cadie Sid and Cassie . . .

. . . and the rest of that crew of crazy, loveable Brits — all of whom I would TOTALLY party with, if I was remotely cool enough to hang out with them (which, I suspect, I’m not).

While my newfound love affair with (U.K) Skins didn’t dampen my appreciation of THIS version, it DID make it a lot more difficult for me NOT to make endless comparisons between the two.  So, I’m just going to put that out there as a warning.  I will try my VERY hardest, not to bring up (U.K.) Skins in my (U.S.) Skins recaps.  (But that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about U.K. Skins in the Comments Section!  Because I TOTALLY PLAN ON DOING SO! )

However, there is ONE scene from this week’s episode, where I think a comparison to the U.K. version will prove SUPER HOT! extremely enlightening  . . . from a sociocultural perspective.  So, I will break my promise just a bit, during this recap, to discuss that scene.  But not to worry U.K. Skins virgins, I fully plan to provide you with a YouTube video, for easy reference, when that time comes. 

You’re welcome!

Well, that’s enough of THAT.  Don’t you think?  On with the recap . . .

Who says you can’t learn about musical history from watching Skins?

(Now, I know the Parent Teacher Council has their panties all in a bunch over some of the content of this show.  But I wonder whether they’d think more kindly about it, if they knew that kids could actually learn something from it!  Personally, I learned TWO things from watching “Tea,” the first of which I will get to in just a bit . . .) 

So, when the episode begins, our titular character Tea is seen taking an exam of some sort.  Of course, I use the term “taking” loosely, because she seems WAY more interested in eye f*&king the curly-haired chick, seated a few rows in front of her, than doing any sort of test-taking.

This curly-haired chick’s name is Betty.  But I will be referring to her as Betty Boop, because she dresses like, and somewhat resembles, a cartoon character, throughout most of the episode.

After most likely flunking her exam, Tea rushes from class at the final bell, but not before leaving Betty Boop a little love note . . .

Thing I Learned from Skins #1:  When I first saw this note, I assumed that it referred to the Lesbian Underground Dance Club where Tea and Betty (and eventually Tea and Tony) met up, during the episode.  And I think I was correct in that assumption.  But from later research, I ALSO learned that Northern Soul refers to an ENTIRE DANCE MOVEMENT — one that gained grounded in the U.K. back in the 1960s.  In fact, many of the songs played during this episode — most notably Tony Clarke’s amazing Landslide (which got downloaded onto my iPod, moments after I finished watching the show) and Wade in the Water (which I WILL download, once I find the right version) — are examples of music that can be classified as Northern Soul.  Who knew?

After school, Tea rushes home, flies past various members of her loud and boisterous family, and heads immediately to her room, where she casts aside her”binding” school clothes, and exchanges them for some Hoochie Girl Party Gear.  (I mean no disrespect in saying this, of course.  Hoochie Girl Party Gear is a must have in EVERY gal’s wardrobe!)  Tea then heads immediately to an underground club filled with close-dancing females, that I can only assume is Northern Soul.

Once there, Tea really lets out her inner rock star — dancing alone, confidently, and un-self-consciously.  You can tell immediately that the moments when Tea is dancing, are the ones when she feels the most free . . . the most “normal.”  You can contrast Tea’s dancing, to the showy grindage, Tony and Michelle engaged in, during the pilot episode . . .

While Tony and Michelle dance to raise eyebrows, and be admired, Tea dances because she clearly loves it.

Within a few moments, Betty Boop has located Tea on the dance floor.  But they don’t get to do much “dancing” together (or talking, or thinking . . . for that matter) . . .

Before you can say “Northern Soul,” Tea and Betty are up against the wall, making out like it’s going out of styl.  Then they go back to Tea’s house, and it’s Screw Time!

We are then treated to a few censor-approved “tasteful” shots of the girls doing the horizontal mambo on the bed.  And before you can say, “Parent Teacher Council,” it’s morning time in Skins World. 

“There was a lotta lickin!”

Tea and Betty rush downstairs, but not before they are ambushed by Tea’s dad, who seems like a kinder, gentler, more blue-collar, version of Tony Soprano.  So, of course, I love him ALREADY!

Awkward moments are a-plenty, as Tea’s dad and Tea start rattling off one sexual pun, after another — carelessly chatting about “chewing things over” and “screwing around,” as if they are discussing the day’s weather.  Betty Boop is clearly not pleased to be there.

Things get even MORE awkward when Tea’s dad introduces Betty Boop to Tea’s massive family. 

By far, the most interesting of this gaggle of relatives is Tea’s zany Nana, who rattles off hilarious lines about past presidents like “No more Tricky Dicky for a LONG TIME!”  (They must hear this kind of stuff EVERY morning, because no one in the room laughs, or even seems to be listening, for that matter.)

Things get THREE times as awkward, when Tea’s straight girlfriend Daisy comes by, and the family refers to her as “The Gay One.”  (Tea’s family clearly does not know that she’s a lesbian.)  Daisy shows off her rack to the two lovers, and wonders out loud whether she has the tatas of a lesbian.  This causes me to wonder what Lesbian Tatas look like, exactly.  (Maybe they are rainbow-colored?)

Honestly, I couldn’t tell whether Betty Boop was all in a snit, because another woman was there, or because now all of Italy probably knows she spent the night getting naked with a female.  Whatever it is, Betty starts acting like a major biatch, threatening Tea that she “better not tell anyone,” and sending Daisy death ray stares, every time the poor girl speaks.  Daisy smugly notes that Betty has hickeys all over neck, which causes the enraged chica to Boop Boop Be Doop her way toward the Exit Stage Left.  “How did it go?”  Daisy asks, referring to the departed Betty.

“There was a lotta lickin'” Tea replies.  (You’ll be pleased to know that this has just become my new favorite catchphrase)

Tea’s dad interrupts the love fest to tell Tea that he’s decided to pimp her out to some connected mob guy’s son, probably so that The Family can make the kids’ father “an offer he can’t refuse.”  (Man, I LOVE Mob Stuff!)  The two mafia-born kids will go “bowling” together the following evening. The good news is that Tea will be paid well for going on this date, and she doesn’t have to “do any funny stuff” with him, if she doesn’t want to do so. 

On the bus on the way to school, Tea’s friend Abbud remarks on how funny it is that Tea has to go on a Mob Date.  He also does a pretty good Brando impression (or maybe that was supposed to be Deniro . . . or Pacino . . . maybe it wasn’t such a good impression after all)  “I come to you, to ask you this favor,” he rasps.

Abbud then spends the rest of the bus ride staring Tea’s boobs, which, I guess, have become kind of unofficial cast members, themselves, for all the time everyone spends staring at them, and talking about them . . .

Making Monkey and Getting Le Donged

It’s lunchtime now.  And Tony has a proposition for Crazy Pill Popping Cadie, who seems way more mellow, ever since her meds have been adjusted . . .

Tony wants Cadie to pretend that she has been “making monkey” with his best bud Stanley.  He claims that this would be a “sweet” thing to do, since it would save Stanley from the “embarrassment” of teen virginity.  Cadie glances over at Stanley, who is currently looking pretty darn pathetic, with his sauce covered face, and sad puppy dog eyes . . .

“Well . . . he could look happier, now that we’re banging eachother,” notes Cadie perceptively.

“I’ll work on that,” promises Tony.

Oh, I bet you will, Tony. 

“OK . . . I’ll do it . . . because it’s sweet, and I like that,” concludes Cadie, making me like HER a bit more than I did last week.

Tony’s happy too . . .

But his happiness seems to have less to do with “being sweet” to Stanley, and more to do with Tea’s Tatas.  (See what I mean, about them being their own character.)  When Tea arrives at the cafeteria, Tony reminds her of her promise to have a Wardrobe Malfunction a la Janet Jackson at the homecoming game, during half time, if Stanley got laid.   And he DIDN’T.  But Tony says he did .  . . and if Tony says it, it must be true.

This love fest between Tony and Tea’s Tatas is interrupted by some school assembly, where some dorky looking teacher lectures the kids on how drugs, sex and partying are “bad stuff.”  I suspect the scene was supposed to be “funny.”  But it wasn’t.  What was kind of funny, was when one of the “Guest Speakers” turned out to be Stanley’s drug dealer from the pilot, who bears the unfortunate last name of Le Dong. 

Since last week, someone in the makeup department has obviously ramped up the Scare Factor on Le Dong’s mug, as he has clearly gone from Mildly Intimidating Old Dude to Zombie Crypt Keeper, in a matter of days.  (Bad Trip, perhaps?)  This guy needs to meet up with the Jersey Shore kids from some Gym, Tanning, Laundry STAT!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a face that color! 

Anyway, Le Dong uses his guest speaking opportunity to make some thinly veiled threats to Stanley, who still owes him 900 smackers for the drugs he “bought on credit,” which are now probably being smoked by Little Nemo and his friends beneath the sea . . .

Hours and HOURS of making monkey aren’t going to lift Stanley’s spirits NOW!  And his friends aren’t exactly much help, leaving the poor kid to rot in the unisex bathroom, while they rush off to class.

Not Measuring Up

As for Tea, she has her own problems, like the fact that she spotted her closeted new girlfriend hanging all over her fake boyfriend during lunch.  And yet, strangely, Betty Boop, who earlier was telling Tea that she “better not tell anyone” about the fact that they banged, suddenly, seems ASTOUNDED by the notion that Tea doesn’t want to be in a relationship with her.  “Nobody measures up to me,” remarks Tea confidently, when Betty asks her why she’s not interested in romantic relationships. 

(Well, I don’t necessarily think that’s true, Tea.  But Betty Boop certainly doesn’t seem to measure up.  You can do better, Girlfriend!)

At dinner, Tea tries to come out to her family, but they are all carrying on so loudly, that nobody seems to notice.   Then Tea’s sister’s water breaks, and everybody leaves . . . except for Tea’s poor Nana, of course.

Later that night, Tea has nobody to talk to, so she decides to chat up Audrey Hepburn . . . or, at least her poster . . .

Since, clearly none of the girls in her school “measure up” to Audrey Hepburn, Tea decides to “hook up” with the person she loves most . . . herself.

And then this happens . . .

The Awkward Moment when you are “entertaining yourself” under the covers, and your grandma climbs into bed with you . . .

 Wade in the Water (and in Tony’s pants)

The next afternoon, Tea’s dad drops Tea off at her prostitution gig date.  And, wouldn’t you know it, her suitor is TONY!  Tony remarks on how cool it is that both of them are working for the mob, how relieved he is that Tea isn’t a “dog,” and how his girlfriend Michelle wont’ care about what they’re doing, because it’s a “Paid Gig.”  (Just keep telling yourself that, Romeo!)  

Tony then offers to take Tea out for a drink.  Of course, by “drink” he means ” a cheap bottle of vodka they can share,” and by “out” he means “to the local playground Sit ‘n Spin.” (As if Tea didn’t feel like enough of a hooker, already!)

The next scene takes place ENTIRELY on the Sit N’ Spin.  So, the revolving camera gave me bad flashbacks to watching The Blair Witch Project, and gave me that distinct flavor of nausea that one only can get from watching more than 2 minutes of “Shaky Cam.” 

Despite the fact that Tea, as Tony says, “worships the coochie shrine,” it is obvious that these two have a connection.  They are both confident, to the point of being cocky, smart, to the point of being disaffected, blase about what life has to offer them, and most importantly, HIGHLY SEXUAL beings.

As for Tony, though, I think the real moment he falls in love with Tea, is when she pukes right in front of him, and still keeps drinking and flirting, as if it never happened.  (Ahhhh . . . the wonders of Vomit Love!)  “You don’t give a sh*t, do you?”  Tony remarks, awestruck.

“No, I really don’t,” replies Tea.

Yoda Tony wisely notes that what makes Tea interesting is not that she’s a lesbian, but that she holds back, and doesn’t let anybody in.  Tea doesn’t necessarily disagree with this assessment.   And adds that she might have a “screw loose,” because she can’t fathom the concept of falling in love.

“Maybe it just needs tightening,” Tony jokes lasciviously.  “I can match you.  You’ve met your match,” he concludes, reminding us of Tea’s earlier words to Betty Boop, about nobody “measuring up.”

The now-completely sh*tfaced Tea and Tony head to the currently abandoned Northern Soul club.  There, Tea puts on the song, Wade in the Water, and the two begin to dance.  Again, Tea looks confident, carefree, and unself-conscious.  The clearly smitten Tony, however, seems a bit less confident than he did during his sexualized boogie with Michelle, during the week prior. 

Now, there’s no audience.  Its just him, and Tea, and the music.  And that makes things more difficult for him.He gets into it eventually, however.  And the pair develop a rather nice rhythm to this blues-y song.

Then the dancing slows down, and things get a bit more sexually intense.  Meaningful looks are exchanged (well, as meaningful as looks can be, after you’ve drank an entire bottle of vodka).  Suddenly, the pair are making out, hardcore . . .

Tea pulls back, shocked at what she has just done.  And Tony stumbles away for a moment, to prepare himself for what he knows that he is ABOUT TO DO . . .

And then .  . . it happens, the sex.  It is awkward, and drunken, and fumbling, yet oddly sexy, in its honesty.  Because THIS is what drunk (sort of ) inexperienced teens look like, when they are experimenting sexually with one another.  This is REAL.  Most of the well-choreographed stuff you see on TV is just smoke and mirrors.  It’s so real in fact, that Tea starts cracking up, when it’s all over (which is in less than a minute).  Needless to say, it’s not QUITE the response that Tony was looking for.

“That was terrible,” giggles Tea

“Normal girls like it,” responds Tony, with a cute pout.

“They must be REALLY stupid,” Tea replies.

We feel your pain, Tony!

But despite his bruised ego, and broken heart, Tony is a good sport about the whole thing, which made me like him A LOT (even though he TOTALLY cheated on his girlfriend Michelle, with her best friend).  After all, can’t all of us relate to wanting something we can’t have, PRECISELY because we can’t have it?

Now, I positively LOVED this scene!  It was sexy, and complex, and extremely well-acted by both of it’s participants.  And yet, knowing that, in the U.K. version, Tea was actually a homosexual boy named Maxxie, I couldn’t help but compare THIS sex scene gone awry to its British counterpart.  Since, I can’t embed the video (click on it, you won’t be disappointed!), let’s post that sexy picture again, shall we?

It’s interesting how in BOTH scenes, Tony is the sexual aggressor –a confident guy who’s certain that he can seduce ANYONE, regardless of their sexual orientation.  And, in both scenes, Tony FAILS in the Art of Seduction.  And yet, in the British version, the sexual power, at least initially, belongs to Tony, because HE is straight, and therefore, not necessarily attracted to Maxxie, who’s obviously gay.  Presumably, as far as Tony’s concerned, this sex act is merely an instance of sexual experimentation

Meanwhile, in the U.S. scene, the sexual power resides with Tea.   SHE is the one who technically shouldn’t be attracted to Tony (whether she actually IS attracted to him is the subject of much debate on the message boards for this show).  SHE is the one experimenting, thereby leaving Tony, who is obviously attracted to HER, in the more vulnerable position of the two.  Talk about GIRL POWER!

Which brings me to . . .

The Lavendar Scare

Back at home, we learn that Drug Dealer Le Dong has been following Tea.  He manhandles her, calls her a dyke, and threatens to do bad things to her, if she doesn’t give up her Poor Friend Stanley, who owes him money.  Of course, Papa Tony Soprano 2.0 is watching.  (Seriously, Drug Dealer Le Dong!  Out of all Stanley’s friends, you chose to mess with the Mob Boss’ Daughter?  MORON!)

Le Dong skulks away, and a highly distraught Tea runs into the house, and into her Nana’s bed.  “Did you get scared?”  Nana asks with concern.

“Yes . . . Nana, I did,” remarks Tea honestly.

It is during this sweet and powerful scene, that we learn that Tea’s nana is ALSO a lesbian.  Apparently, she was forced to give up her lover, get married, and live a lie, in order to avoid persecution at the hands of Joseph McCarthy and The Lavender Scare (an event which is The Second Thing I Learned About From Watching Skins this Week).  The two gay women hold hands and cry together in bed, and,  in doing so, bridge the Generation Gap.  And regardless of what your own sexual orientation may be, it’s impossible not to be moved by this scene.

“I Put My Truth on You”

The next day at lunch, Michelle is sitting with Tea, and asking about the details of her “date.”  Tea is demure, and doesn’t rat out Tony.  She does, however, admit that her “date” “tried something” with her before she “explained” her sexual orientation.

Michelle notes wistfully that it must be nice to “be jumped like that,” as Tony hasn’t exactly been a really “winner” in the loving department lately.  This isn’t exactly a surprise given the longing looks Tony is throwing in Tea’s general direction, while the two friends are engaging in this conversation.  This Eye F**k Fest is interrupted by Betty Boop, who plants a hot juicy kiss on Tea’s lips in front of the ENTIRE CAFETERIA, including Poor Tony, and Betty’s fake boyfriend, Bobby.  (Betty Boop’s boyfriend’s name was Bobby.  Now THAT’S Funny!)

“I put my truth on you,” says Betty slyly, before strutting out of the cafeteria.  (PRETTY SMOOTH, Miss Boop!)

After school Tea’s dad picks her up, in a very crowded car that includes a bunch of his mob goons, and . . . get this . . . Le Dong . . . the drug dealer . . .

Tea’s dad wants Le Dong to swim with the fishes (and Stanley’s weed) because he THINKS that Le Dong called Tea, not what he ACTUALLY called her (dyke) but something that RHYMES with what he called her, and is a derogatory term for people of the Jewish faith.  Tea tries to correct her father, but he won’t hear it.  So, Tea simply tells her dad not to MURDER Le Dong.  Tea’s dad nods, tells Tea that she is a “good person,” and then drives away . . .

Personally, I hope he killed him.  Does that make me a Bad Person?

At the end of the episode, Tea gets a phone call from the clearly lovesick Tony, who tells her, “I matched you.  I matched you good.”

OK . . . officially loving him, now.  But who’s room is he in?  Hopefully not Michelle’s!

At the same time, Tea also gets a phone call, from Betty Boop.  But she ignores them both, and instead begins to dance to Wade in the Water, in a bedroom adorned with . . . you guessed it . . . lavender!

That’s it for this week’s episode.  Based on the previews, next week’s Skin’s installment, “Chris,” looks like an almost shot-for-shot remake of the U.K. episode of the same name, which just so happens to be the first FULL episode of U.K. Skins that I watched.  It will be interesting to see how this one translates . . .

See you then!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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How Stanley didn’t get laid – A Recap of (U.S.) Skins’ Series Premiere “Tony”

Chances are, if you’ve been alive and well this week, and have found yourself anywhere near a television, computer, or magazine, you’ve probably heard at least something about Skins.  At the risk of being redundant, Skins is MTV’s newest “scripted” drama (And yet, aren’t they all scripted, when you really think about it?).  Although MTV’s version premiered this week, the concept of Skins is not particularly new.  In fact, the show is a remake / reimagining of a popular UK show of the same name, which debuted back in 2007, and featured MOST of the same characters (only played by British young actors, as opposed to American ones).

In terms of the U.S. version of Skins, public opinion has run the gamut from diehard fans of the original, who believe this version should never have been made, to conservative right-wingers, who think the fact that underage actors makeout on the show is tantamount to “child porn.”  This post isn’t going to say any of those things, or even really offer an opinion one way or the other.  I’m merely going to recap the episode, and hopefully, entertain you a bit in the process . . .

Sound good?  Let’s get started . . .

Meet Naked Tony (and his Burnout Sister, Wacky Dad, and Slutty Next Door Neighbor)

You would think that a television episode entitled “Tony,” would open up with a shot of “Tony” right?  WRONG!  Instead we got this random chick . . .

I see this on my television screen, and I immediately wonder whether my cable guide lied to me, and I am not watching Skins, but rather some second rate straight-to-video zombie flick (Dawn of the Dead 2: Electric Boogaloo).  But no, this is “Tony’s” baby sister.  We know her as “Eura,” but in the U.K. version, she had the much more mainstream name of “Effy.” 

 I notice immediately that it is snowing, and she isn’t wearing any shoes.  My feet experience immediate sympathy pains, as a result.  It’s not an enjoyable feeling.  In short, I’ve already about had it with Zombie Eura, and her soon-to-be frostbitten feet.  And she hasn’t said a single word yet!

No matter.  Bring on NAKED TONY!

This is our first glimpse of the titular Tony.  He’s cute.  But his bedspread is stark white, and covered with tarantulas (I think . . . I generally make it my business to know as little about spiders as humanly possible.)  It also seems way too neat, tidy, and generally void of personality to be a teenage boy’s bedroom.  This makes me think that Tony might be a serial killer, because only serial killer teens have clean rooms like that.  (Hey, maybe he killed EURA!  And that’s why she’s coming back to his house . . . to eat his BRAINS for REVENGE!)

(You might be interested in knowing that in the U.K. version of Skins, Tony was played by Nicholas Hoult, a.k.a. the kid from About a Boy . . .)

Anyway, Tony gets up, and starts doing these weird Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dweeb moves, by the window, to show off his surprisingly buff teen physique.

Now, I no longer think I am watching a zombie movie, but rather an infomercial for Bow Flex or the Shake Weight.  (After all, it is 2 a.m. at this point.)  Tony then takes a break from his Tae Bo routine to play Peeping Tom with his slutty adult neighbor.

Slutty Neighbor really seems to enjoy being ogled by a 16-year old, which, I guess, makes her a pedophile.  If Tony WAS, in fact, a serial killer, Slutty Neighbor would probably be his first victim (after Zombie Eura, of course) . . .

While Tony is ogling Slutty Neighbor, he spies Zombie Eura, and decides to invite her inside the house, and help her to evade the EVIL Parental Units.  (NO, TONY!  NEVER INVITE IN THE ZOMBIES . . . Or maybe it’s vampires you aren’t supposed to invite in?  OK . . . Now I’m confused.)

So, Tony turns his music up full blast, and while Tony’s dad (stepdad?) rips him a new one, Zombie Eura dashes back to her room, cleans the crap off her face, and tries to make her bed look slept in . . .

Meanwhile, Tony’s dad or stepdad is screaming at the top of his lungs at Tony, but I can’t understand a damn word the guy is saying . . . I suspect we aren’t supposed to understand him, anyway.  In essence, Skins is like a live teenage version of Charlie Brown, where all the adults are WAY too tall, and speak in gibberish all the time . . .

“Wah-wah wah wah mwah wah-wah, mwah WAHHHHHHHHHH!”

Next we get a completely unnecessary shot of Tony taking a dump on the toilet, while reading a book entitled Know Your Rodent.  (See, TOTAL SERIAL KILLER!)

Soon enough, Tony’s dad or stepdad is outside the bathroom bellowing again, “MWAH-WAH WAH, WAH I HAVE TO TAKE A DUMP TOO MWAH WAH-WAH!”  So, Tony sneaks out the window . . .

And . . . then he’s back inside.

(See, now I’m thinking this HAS to be Tony’s stepdad.  Because climbing down your fire escape, just to make your biological pops look like a moron, seems like WAY TOO MUCH WORK, with no foreseeable benefits.) 

Calling All Cast Members!

After breakfast, Tony leaves for school.  It’s still snowing, but Tony’s dressed for 65 degree weather, because “he’s just cool like that.”

This is the part of the pilot, where Tony generously introduces you to the rest of the main cast, by calling EVERY. . .  SINGLE . . . ONE of them . . .

This is Daisy.  In this scene, we learn precisely three things about her.  (1) She’s smart.  We know this because she plays a musical instrument.  And the only time they ever show kids playing musical instruments on teen shows is to imply that they are smart.  (2)  She’s fairly wealthy.  We know this because she has a fancy and rather old painting on the wall next to her.  (3) She’s snarky.  We know this because, on teen shows, the only time it’s acceptable to be BOTH smart and wealthy, is if you are also snarky.

This is Abbud.  Like Daisy, we don’t get to know much about him this week, aside from two things: (1) He’s Muslim.  (2) He digs lesbians.  You might be interested to know that in the U.K. version this character (then named Anwar) was played by Dev Patel, a.k.a. The Slumdog Millionaire guy . . .

This is Tea.  She’s a tough and spunky lesbian cheerleader.  (She hasn’t told her fellow cheermates of her sexual orientation yet.   This way, she figures, none of them will feel awkward, when they have to stick their hands up her skirt, during the Cheer Pyramid.)

This is Crazy Chris, who, I noticed, doesn’t like to wear clothing.  He’s already one of my favorite characters.  This is probably because the “Chris” episode of Skins is the only episode of the U.K. version that I actually got to watch.

This is Tony’s girlfriend, Michelle.  He’s nicknamed her Nips (which she HATES).  Unfortunately, for male viewers, the U.S. censors won’t allow you to see WHY . . .

And this is Stanley.  He’s a virgin, who calls his weiner “Mr. Happy.”  (Though, since he IS a virgin, that is probably somewhat of a misnomer.)  Unlike Tony, Stanley has a room that looks EXACTLY like you would expect a teenage boy’s bedroom to look (i.e. messy, stinky, and covered with porn).  So, Stanley is probably not a serial killer.  But he DOES have Hanson hair . . .

 . . . which, I strongly suspect, is one of the reasons he can’t get laid.

Time for “School”

It’s nice when, during a teen drama, you see the kids actually go to class, even if it’s only for one scene.  This is psychology class.  And the psychology teacher needs therapy . . .

“Mwah-wah wah-wah Boyfriend Dumped Me, WAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

Adorable Chris is clearly in love with his Wackadoo Psych teacher, so he tries to impress her, by dressing like a hillbilly from the movie Deliverance . . .

He also carries her books after class.  She doesn’t seem to mind nearly as much as you would expect.   In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if these two ended up doing the nasty at some point this season assuming the show doesn’t get canceled first.

“You may teach Psychology, but we SURE have Chemistry!  Get it . . . because . . . oh, never mind.  Wanna screw?  My parents are out of town for the week.  So, I can TOTALLY have a sleepover!”

Now, it’s lunchtime.  Whether or not these are wealthy teens, we know they go to a pretty wealthy school, because their cafeteria has flat screen TVs in it  . . .

They also serve Massive Meal Portions, akin in size to what 800-pound men would likely eat at a breakfast buffet . . .

At lunch, Tony tells Stanley that the only way he will be able to get laid, is if he buys a lot of drugs, and gets the object of his affection SO HAMMERED that she forgets he has Hanson hair.  While they are talking, Michelle arrives.  We know instantly that Stanley is in love with her, because she walks in SLOOOOO MOOOOOO . . .

He also conveniently has pornographic images of of her on his cell phone . . .

Unfortunately for Stanley, he will not be getting the opporunity to horizontal mambo with Nips Michelle, and her awesome blue leather jacket  (Seriously?  Where can I get me one of THOSE?), because her face is pretty much permanently attached to Bobby’s mouth.  Instead, Stanley will be screwing Psychopath Cadie, who he is supposed to meet in the “Life Skills” classroom . . .

If I knew that “Life Skills” class involved growing phallic vegetables and playing with knives, I totally would have chosen it as my elective at school.  When Stanley first meets Cadie (though I’m not sure how he hasn’t already met her, considering all his friends already seem to know her — I mean, how big IS this school exactly?) he’s understandably a bit afraid of her . . .

But that doesn’t stop him from wanting to have sex with her.  He IS a teenage boy, after all.

OMG, it’s GLEE!

Meanwhile, Tony has randomly decided to try out for the All Girls Choir, at the private “school for young ladies” nearby.  (No, offense to any of my readers out there, who may actually be named Edith Damp.  But, is that not the WORST name for a girl’s school ever?)  Tony shows up at the practice and starts singing this REALLY old show tune, that I suspect is called Let’s Fall in Love.

And, although both the song choice, and the way Tony sings it, make him seem INCREDIBLY gay, all the women choir-ettes seem to eat it up (probably because they all haven’t seen any men other than their dads, in about 10 years).

On the way out of “Edith Damp School”, Tony has a slight run-in with schools headmaster, but escapes unscathed.

(Just in case you can’t read it, the sign, behind the headmaster’s head says “Juvenile Males are a Threat.” – HILARIOUS!)

Did I mention that the Leader of the Choir-ettes invites Tony to a party at her house?

Tony agrees to attend, assuming he can make a big profit, by selling Stanley’s weed there. 

“I wanna dip my balls in it!”

Speaking of Stanley . . .

He’s in the suburbs, searching for a drug dealer.  The dealer looks pretty much exactly like EVERY drug dealer looks in show’s like these, down to the 5 0’clock shadow, and 70’s era blue tracksuit . . .

The dealer “generously” sells Stanely a $900 bag of weed, on credit, promising the boy, that his still virginal balls will be chopped up if he doesn’t pay him back in full within 48 hours  . . .

“Too URBAN!  TOO URBAN!”

That night, Queen B chick is thrilled to see Tony and Stanley’s weed, at her party.  However, she is less than thrilled that he brought the entire regular cast of Skins along with him.  She is also not pleased with the way he’s grinding all up on his girlfriend Nips Michelle, instead of the Party Hostess, herself . . .

But things REALLY get out of hand, when Queen B chick asks Chris to take off his dirty SHOES, and he takes off his PANTS instead.  Suddenly Tony’s derelict friends are MOSHING at this Rich Chick Party!  “Too urban!  Too urban!” She squeals, as the mosh evolves in a knock down-drag out fight . . .

Meanwhile, outside Queen B’s house, we are treated to a romantic full moon, and Psychopath Cadie’s squeals of pleasure.  (GO STANLEY!)  

Yeah, she’s actually just jumping on the trampoline . . . But then, her and Stanley actually start MAKING OUT . . .

(GO STANLEY!)  But then . . .  Cadie stops, and tells him, “it’s no good,” because she can tell he’s in love with Michelle.  But she offers to screw him anyway!  (GO STANLEY!)  And  . . . then she falls unconscious due to having OD’d on a massive amount of pills. 

Stanley runs back into the Rich Chick Party (which, by now, has completely devolved into chaos) to tell his friends that they need to take Cadie to the ER.  The crew each get in a few more punches, before leaving the party for good.  By the time they get outside though, it’s miraculously become daytime, even though it was the middle of the night, literally two seconds earlier . . .


“Got any skins?”

Chris hijacks one of the rich kids’ cars.  Then, the crew pile in and speed to the hospital, practically getting themselves killed in the process.  Now, if this was ANY other teen drama, this would be the part where Cadie dies, or falls into a coma, to teach the teens watching back home and “Important Lesson About the Abuse of Pharmaceuticals.”   But this is MTV!  So, by the time the gang arrives at the hospital . . .

 . . . Cadie is JUST FINE!  Well . . . almost fine.  She REALLY has to pee . . .

While, Cadie “does her business” the rest of the gang gets a HUGE urge to rip into Stanley’s MASSIVE bag of pot.  “Anybody got skins [a.k.a. rolling papers]?”  Stanley asks. 

Tony tells Stanley he’s got some in his pants pocket (probably because he’s secretly always wanted to be felt up by a guy with Hanson hair).  Unforunately, Stanley’s getting to third base with Tony has the unintended effect of pulling the car out of “park” and into “drive.”  So, about a second after, Stanley finds the “skins” . . .

 .  . . the gang’s stolen car careens off into a cliff with all of them inside it . . . well, everyone except for Cadie.

So, now, I’m thinking to myself, that if the entire cast of this show DIES in its FIRST EPISODE, it will officially become the most BRILLIANT SHOW EVER!

But they don’t .  . . so it isn’t . . .

The gang swims safely to shore.  But it is not until LONG after they’ve left the area, and gone back to their respective homes, that . . . for reasons that defy all laws of physics, gravity, and basic logic . . . the MASSIVE BAG OF WEED resurfaces.

Nice knowing ya, Stanley’s Balls!

In the last few moments of the episode, we learn three things:  (1) that douchey headmaster we met earlier is actually Ton’y neighbor, and wife to that Slutty Pedophile who poses nude for him each morning . . .

(2) Stanley is still a virgin.

(3) Or IS HE?

“Birds do it.  Bees do it.  Even educated trees do it.  Let’s do it.  Let’s fall in love.”

[www.juliekushner.com]

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“Show me the MONEY!” – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Blowing Smoke”

LANE:    Don . . . about your . . . article in the Times.  I think we need to discuss some possible strategies for damage control.

DON:   Show me the money!  Show me the money!  SHOW ME THE MON-EYYYYYY!

LANE: *Stage whispers to Roger*  What’s he yammering on about?

ROGER:  Hell, if I know.  I don’t speak “Creative.”

DON:  Help me help you, Roger.  Help me help you.

PETE: *disgusted*  Don, are you DRUNK?

LANE:  I daresay he might be having a nervous breakdown.  Don, can you hear me?

DON:  You had me at hello?

ROGER:  If he goes nuts, I’m turning his office into a  massage parlor.

DON:  Come on guys!  Haven’t any of you ever seen Jerry Macguire?

LANE, PETE, ROGER: ???

They say mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery.  If that is, in fact, true, the folks who made Jerry Macguire must have been VERY flattered, after watching this week’s installment of Mad Men.

YEAH!  DON DRAPER IS THE MAN!  And Peggy Olson is a fellow Scientologist!

After all, if you recall, it was the titular Jerry Macguire who, after having a drunken career-altering epiphany, first wrote and published an “altruistic” manifesto on moral integrity and its relationship (or lack thereof) to marketing.  As a result of said manifesto, Jerry, like Don, found many of his colleagues questioning his sanity, his clients questioning his business acumen, and his competitors dancing on what they believed to be his gravesite.

Bob Sugar = Ted Chaough

Then again, Jerry Macguire was made in 1996, and Don Draper pulled his stunt in 1965.  So, who’s to say WHO is copying WHO?

For the most part, this penultimate episode of Season 4 of Mad Men consisted of two main plotlines.  We spent one half of the episode, watching SCDP fall apart, while Don went to increasingly desperate lengths to save it. 

And we spent the other half watching Matt Weiner’s spawn Glen  . . .

“Hi, I’m Chucky Glenny, WANNA PLAY?”

 . . . the creepiest kid on television today, channel all the creepy kids you’ve seen in horror movies for the past decade.  And this boy is FRIGHTENING with a capital “F.”  Forget that girl from The Ring.  How’d you like to have THIS KID crawl out of your television set?

“If I keep smiling like this, maybe he won’t chop me into little pieces and serve me to his dog . . .”

Oh, and we had some nice Neighborly Heroin Addicts thrown in for good measure . . .

No . . . not that kind of heroine . . .

That’s the one!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Smells Like Desperation . . .

“That’s not DESPERATION you smell.  I just tend not to shower after sex with random floozies . . .”

When the episode opens, Don is at the pitch meeting with Heinz . . .

 . . . which Faye scored for him the week prior.  Although Don handles the meeting with his trademark wit and charm, there is something a bit off about Don himself.  He’s talking a bit too loud, and too fast.  He’s jumpy, skittish, aggressive, and almost rudely insistent.  This alteration in demeanor is not lost on the client (who, by the way, gets major props from me for not even cracking a smile, while delivering his line about why commercials about BEANS shouldn’t be funny . . .).

“I bet I could get a f*ck from date with your mother now,” scoffs the arrogant bastard, noting Don’s desperation to get this account — which couldn’t have been any more apparent, if he came to the meeting wearing a red clown nose.

“Why are you looking at me like that?  Is there something on my face?”

After condescendingly telling Don to leave business relations to the “accounts men,” the prospective client tells Don that he will gladly meet with SCDP for a formal pitch in six months (IF the company is still around by then).  Sugar-coating aside, Don knows exactly what “See you in six months” is code for . . .

Dances with Creeps

“Do you like scary movies, Sally?  Are you even allowed to WATCH scary movies?  Because you are in one . . .RIGHT NOW.”

Back at the House-Formerly-Known-As-The-Drapers, Sally tries out her best Stepford Wife impression on Betty.

“When I grow up I want to have no earthly purpose but to please my husband . . . just like you!”

When Sally asked Betty if she could start eating her meals with Dull Henry, I honestly couldn’t tell if the tween had mastered the art of passive aggressiveness . . .

 . . . and was making a not-so-subtle comment about New Dad’s frequent absences from the family home, or if she had been lobotomized by Dr. Edna during therapy.

“It’s just a little snip.  I promise, you will barely feel a thing!”

Whichever it is, Betty is absolutely overjoyed by the “positive” change in her daughter’s behavior.

I am absolutely overjoyed by the positive change in my daughter’s behavior.”

But alas, all is not right in Sallyland.  Unbeknownst to Mommy Dearest, her darling daughter has forged an EVIL ALLIANCE .  . .

 .  . . with CREEPY GLEN!

First thing I wondered when I saw this image: Who the heck let this twerp on the football team?  Glen always struck me as more of the “mascot” type, or the Water Boy, or the kid who pees in the Gatorade. 

 And while, under normal circumstances, I hate to rank on a little kid, this little kid is plying Sally with cigarettes and spiked with Ruffies Coke.  He is also isolating the preteen from external influence, by telling the emotionally vulnerable girl he is smarter than her shrink.  As if that isn’t bad enough, he uses on her the “Everybody else hates me.  I have no one but you,” line, which just so happens to be the first sentence in the Psycho Stalker Killer Handbook.

From Psycho-Stalker to Psycho-logist

Fortunately, Sally has a more positive role model in her shrink Dr. Edna . . .

 . . . who kind of looks like Miss Garrett from The Facts of Life.

No wonder she’s so gosh darn likeable!

Miss Garrett Dr. Edna plays cards with Sally, and compliments her on her positive progress in learning to kiss her mom’s ass control her emotions.  She takes an interest in Sally’s schooling and social life, and wants to lessen her sessions so that she will have more time to spend with Creepy Glen her friends.  Most importantly, Dr. Edna tells Sally that she is proud of her, not once, but TWICE in a single session.

It is worth noting that this is more times than BETTY and DON have told Sally they are proud of her in FOUR SEASONS!

After Sally finishes her session, Betty enters Dr. Edna’s office to talk about herself ad nauseum and get free therapy discuss Sally’s progress.

When Dr. Edna discusses the possibility of reducing Sally’s sessions, Betty FREAKS OUT at the thought of not getting free therapy anymore halting Sally’s “excellent progress.”  Dr. Edna slyly reiterates that she is a child psychologist, and does not generally counsel adults.  Betty responds by sucking her thumb and wetting her diaper.  Dr. Edna agrees to resume therapy sessions with Betty to continue to discuss “Sally’s excellent progress.”

A Certain Kind of Girl . . .

“You’re a certain kind of girl, and tobacco is your ideal boyfriend,” says Faye’s despicable boss Dr. Atherton, about SCDP.

Translation: You (SCDP) are the nerd in the back of the classroom, with fish breath, parsley in your teeth, and elastic waist pants that go up to your tits.  Basically, no one in their right mind would want to have sex with you.  So, if you want to get laid,  you really should go for the dumb slutty boy, with loose morals, who smells like ash (Tobacco).

With Faye’s and Dr. Atherton’s help the firm gets an intervview with Phillip Morris for a new line of women’s cigarettes they plan to begin selling.  After thanking Faye profusely for getting him a date with the Class Whore, Don heads to the lobby where he encounters Old Flame, Midge.  Right away, I don’t trust Midge’s motivations.  Perhaps, this distrust has something to do with the fact that she’s a grown woman, dressed like an animated character from a series of children’s books I used to read .  . .

After confirming that Don is divorced and living in the village, Midge invites Don back to her place.  When he initially declines, she begs him to reconsider, giving off the same stench of desperation Don gave off in the episode’s first scene.  “But, I want you to meet my husband!”  She jabbers.

Ultimately, Don can’t resist Midge’s no longer existent charms.  After all, he is a certain kind of guy, and Midge is his ideal girlfriend (a.k.a. unrelentingly needy and majorly slutty).  When Don arrives at Midge’s and her “husband’s” (they are only married “for the bread”) hovel and apartment, he finds his ex-paramour’s “better half” to be even more persistent and grating than she is . . .

Mr. Midge aggressively pushes his and his wife’s ugly paintings on Don, not-so-subtly hints at Don’s massive dick wallet size, pawns some quick cash of Don, and heads out into the night.  Later, Midge admits that her meeting him in the lobby of his office was no coincidence.  She and her husband are heroine addicts.  They are low and cash, and need a fix.

Don, who only sympathizes with life-crippling addictions when they come out of a bottle, is totally turned off.

In fact, he is very eager to get back to his non-heroin addicted girlfriend, thank you very much.  And so, to solve this problem, Don decides to do what he does best.  Throw money at it.  He writes Midge a check for $300 for one of her ugly paintings.  But Little Miss Ingrate is apparently too strung out to walk across the street to a bank, so she asks for cash instead.  Don promptly rips up the check, and reduces the amount to $120.

“Do you think my work is any good?”  Midge asks.

“Does it matter,” inquires Don, as he stalks out of the stinky apartment.

“I went to a crack den for $120, and all I got was this lousy painting.”

“If you don’t like what they are saying about you, change the conversation.”

As it turns out, the Phillip Morris meeting ends up being nothing more than a ploy orchestrated by the company to score a meeting with a bigger advertising agency.

Now the executives at SCDP are forced to make some tough decisions.  In order to keep the firm afloat for another six months, they must reduce their staff by half.  Additionally, the main partners must each fork over $100, 000, with Pete and Lane forking over $50,000.  (No small potatos!  Especially not in 1965.)  The increasingly loveable Pete balks at the amount, and not because he’s being a cheap prick either, he REALLY DOESN’T HAVE IT.

On the sly, Pete attempts to secure a loan from the bank, but doesn’t think to leave them with his work number.  So, when the Poor Schmo comes home his Brand New Mother of a Newborn wife thinks they are getting a house, and she’s thrilled.

But Trudy’s mood quickly sours when she learns what Pete is REALLY using the money for.  She equates SCDP to the Titanic (and not because it’s VERY large, and has people of Leo DiCaprio-caliber attractiveness working for it, either).

“I’m the king of the WORLD!  Wait . . . what’s that big block of ice doing up there?  Is that part of the tour?”

Throwing back in Pete’s face that very same patronizing and condescending tone he has used with her on so many occasions, Trudy scolds, “You are forbidden to give any more money to that company!  And don’t think of asking my father for money, either!”

Pete’s manhood . . .

Back at the office, the tables have turned as well.  Don is asking Peggy for advice on what do to with his failing company.

Peggy smartly quotes Don’s own words back to him saying, “If you don’t like what they are saying about you, change the conversation.”

This little pep talk gives Don and . . .

He goes home to his apartment and immediately begins to write.  The next day, there is a full page article in the New York Times entitled “Why I am Quitting Tobacco.”  The article decries tobacco as a product that doesn’t NEED advertising, because all its clients are already addicts.  Oh, yeah, and smoking kills you too.  (Never mind that Don is SMOKING A CIGARETTE while he writes this . . . )

“OK, cigarette.  You and I are SO OVER!  But how would you feel about a nice goodbye screw?”

Don concludes the missive by announcing that SCDP will no longer take tobacco clients.  He then proceeds to list all the other agencies that WILL.

The article, understandably causes a firestorm, with most of the office looking at Don like he just killed their puppies (except, of course, for the ones that want to f*ck him).

Oh, and Roger’s not mad either.  He’s just happy there’s someone at the firm now that people think is a bigger screw up then him.

“You know, Don.  You should really try to be more politically correct, when making public statements.”

While Don is arguing with his colleagues about the merits of his “conversation changing” article, which he tauts as a “firm advertisement,” he receives a phone call from . . . Bobby Kennedy?

OK . . . now I was still a couple decades shy of being born when the Kennedy’s were in office, and I could tell that wasn’t Bobby Kennedy on the phone!  That was the WORST IMPERSONATION of a politician I have EVER HEARD!  And yet, Don, never a big one on humility fell for it hook line and sinker.  The call ended up being a prank one, made by Season 4’s apparent Super Villain, the EVIL Ted Chaough . . .

Once Don hangs up the phone, Bert Cooper throws a TOTAL TEMPER TANTRUM, calling Don impatient, childish, and not cut out for the partnership.  He then QUITS THE FIRM!

And, just in case you weren’t sure whether Old Bertie was SERIOUS about this, he asks Megan FOR HIS SHOES!

OK.  Now, I know he never has many lines, but I really can’t imagine this show without Bert Cooper and his shoes!  Then again, I couldn’t imagine this show without SAL either, and look what they did to him!

Bert Cooper, you will most certainly be missed!

To add injury to insult, Lane lays a pretty heavy guilt trip on Don, telling him that he moved his entire family back to the States, so that he could continue working at the firm (undoubtedly dumping his Poor Playboy Bunny girlfriend in the process).

“LOVE HURTS!”

Fortunately, for Don, SOME support comes his way, in the way of Megan . . .

 . . . who, channeling Rene Zellwegger in Jerry Macguire tells Don how much she would like to have a second go around with his Mr. Winky admires what he did.  Sure, she understands that this was all about not looking as though SCDP was “dumped” by Big Tobacco, but it was still brave, and sparked a conversation.  Megan . . . now THAT’S a girl who really knows how to grease a wheel . . .

Though not quite as effusive as Megan, Peggy .  . .

 . . . offers Don a sweet smile, and jokingly says that “she thought he didn’t go for such shenanigans.”  (Then again . . . she was probably just happy she wasn’t part of the half of the staff that got canned.)

Later, the third lady in Don’s life, Faye comes to tell him that her company has resigned its representation of SCDP, because tobacco is her “ideal kind of boyfriend.”  Speaking of ideal boyfriends, she still wants to bone Don on a regular basis.  And without work between them, it will be much easier to do so.

“Or will it?”

Caught in the Act

Back in the less interesting plotline Salllyland, Sally was trying to sneak off with Creepy Glen when Betty caught her and told her he was BAD NEWS.

“Is this just because I watched you take a whiz and asked for a lock of your hair to use in a human sacrifice ritual?”

At dinner that night, Betty announces to Henry that she is FINALLY ready to move out of Don’s old house.  Henry is overjoyed!

“I am overjoyed!”

But Sally is NOT.  In fact, she runs off crying, clutching that piece of twine Glen gave her when he vandalized her house a few weeks back.  Ladies and gentleman, it’s official.  Sally has VERY BAD TASTE IN MEN!

“I’ve Gotta Go Learn a Bunch of People’s Names Before I Fire Them.”

Apparently, this guy’s name was “Bill.” 

Was that in poor taste?

At YET ANOTHER staff meeting, the SCDP exec board (sans Cooper) learn that Don’s little stunt earned them the right to do a pro bono anti-smoking campaign for the American Cancer Society.  “Don saved the company, now let’s go and fire half of it,” Pete says snidely, as the meeting adjourns.

However, a few moments later, when Pete finds out from Lane that Don forked over Pete’s $50,000 share to the company, so Pete’s wife wouldn’t chop his balls off, he is forced to eat those nasty words.

Outside the office, Pete raises his glass to Don in silent acknowledgement that they have now both covered one anothers’ asses within the past few episodes . . .

This mildly happy moment is contrasted with the firing of half of SCDP’s staff, most notably the heretofore anonymous, “Bill,” and Little Danny . . .

We barely knew ye!

All in all, it was a pretty doleful episode.  Smart . . . but doleful.  I really hate seeing my Maddies so unhappy.  Here’s hoping things perk up a bit in next week’s Season Finale!  🙂

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Bad for Business, Good for your Sex Life – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Chinese Wall”

“Every time something good happens.  Something bad happens right after,” notes Peggy, upon hearing the news that SCDP has just lost its biggest client.

As luck would have it, Peggy utters the above line just mere moments, after enjoying a morning of crazy hot Morning Sex with her new boy toy, Abe.

Breakfast in bed just got a whole lot yummier!

And yet, to accurately describe this episode, Peggy probably should have said, “Everytime something bad happens, somebody gets screwed.”

Because, for, for better or worse, that was what “Chinese Wall” was about:  Bad News and Good Sex, with a heaping helping of Betrayal thrown in for good measure.  So, without further adieu, let us separate those who got “Lucky,” from those destined to “Strike” out.  (No pun intended.)

(Who am I kidding?  My cheesy puns are ALWAYS intentional.)

“Lipstick on Your Teeth, Told a Tale on You”

Usually when guys want to get my attention, they just smile or wink.  But I guess this works too . . .

When the episode begins, Peggy and Joyce have just finished a relaxing afternoon swimming and getting toasted at Jones Beach. Then, who should “just happen” to appear requesting a ride home?  THIS GUY . . .

It’s ABE!  Mr. “I Wrote a Poem about How You are Employed by Evil Capitalist Pigs, But Only Because I Think Your Sexy!” 

But, let tell you!  Taking an episode off has done WONDERS for this guy’s sex appeal!  Abe went from Sir Crash and Burn to Don Juan in just a few scenes!  It all started when Peggy was “forced” to sit on his lap (crowded car and all).  After Peggy apologized to Abe for any “discomfort” he might be experiencing as a result of said lap sitting, he replied.  “You weigh like a pound, relax!”

Guys?  Don’t let any girl tell you differently.  This line WORKS, and it WORKS WELL!  I got goosebumps just hearing it, and he wasn’t even talking about ME! 

As if that wasn’t enough, Abe starts gently rubbing Peggy’s arm, and making mildly suggestive comments about her love of the water and . . . ahem . . . getting wet.  Is it any wonder that, after that long car ride, she took that Sweet Talker home and had hot sweaty sandy sex with him, multiple times?

Yes, call home and cry to Mommy, Mark, because YOU’VE just been replaced.

The following morning, Abe lingered in Peggy’s bedroom, not sure whether to stay or go.  In a surprising move, Peggy made an “Executive Decision” that he should STAY, reigning him in for an rollicking pre-work roll in the hay!

Now either our girl has become significantly more self-assured and confident in her “old age,” or Abe is a real ROCKSTAR in the sack.  Because Peggy takes the news of Lucky Strike’s abandonment of SCDP remarkably in stride.  “Should I be worried?”  She asks Don innocently, when he calls her into his office, after the staff meeting, during which the news was announced.  “Because you seem like you have things under control.”

When Don tells Peggy that he is counting on her to land the Playtex account, rather than being daunted, she seems entirely open to the challenge.  And by open, I mean really HORNY!  Back in the office, Peggy proposes an almost X-rated latex glove campaign to her colleagues Fred and Barney Flintstone Stan and Little Danny.  Never have ugly yellow gloves, commonly used to clean toilets, seemed so sexy!

Playtex Gloves and Condoms . . . both made out of Latex.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Stan, who no longer seems to be able to look at Peggy, without picturing her naked  . . .

Ahhh, memories!

 . . . is NOTICEABLY aroused by Peggy’s little speech.  (In fact, he immediately places his hands between his legs and squirms about, like a little kid who has to pee.)  Of course, being the “humble” guy he is, Studly Stanley becomes immediately convinced that Peggy has become “sex-crazed” as a result of SCDP’s impending closure, and, therefore, wants to jump his bones.

“In the words of Right Said Fred, ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’ . . . and for this hideous lime green jacket the wardrobe department dressed me in.”

Stan’s convictions are further strengthened (hardened?) when he catches Peggy banging the delivery guy in her office, a la Samantha Jones in Sex and the City.

“Talk about FAST SERVICE!”

As it turns out, Peggy is not quite as slutty as Stan thinks.  After all, the “Delivery Boy” is someone she knows quite well . . .

“Please accept my large package.”

 Later, while a stressed out Peggy is doing some last minute preparations for her Playtex pitch, Stan offers to help her relax . . . by groping her like he’s a monkey, and she’s a banana tree.

Peggy handles the situation calmly, treating Stan like she would any disobedient dog, using firm and brief commands.  “Stan, NO!”  She enunciates.

Cool off, Hot Dog!

“Why do you keep making me reject you?”  Peggy inquires brusquely.

After minimal protest, Stan backs off.  After all, by getting Peggy riled up and angry, he did succeed in making her less nervous for her pitch.  “Everything good?”  Peggy asks tentatively, worrying that their little encounter will adversely impact their working relationship.

“Absolutely,” says Stan with a little gleam in his eye.  (Already, you know he’s up to something.)

Peggy’s pitch, for all intents and purposes, seems to go quite well.  Of course, she dials the sex aspects down a bit, from the initial pitch she suggested to Stan and Danny.  However, the basic idea is still there.  Playtex even seems amenable to the advertising concept, calling it “romantic.”  The only problem is . . . the client keeps making weird faces at Peggy.

“You have lipstick all over your teeth,” Harry tells Peggy, after the clients have left.

Peggy immediately makes eye contact with that dirty dog, Stan Rizzo.  And this is what she sees . . .

Sorry, Peggy!  You can’t give a guy like that these TWICE . . .

. . . and NOT expect him to take some kind of revenge. 

To Peggy’s credit, she handles the little prank quite well, even managing a toothy, lipstick-covered smile, when she finds out.  It just goes to show you, there’s nothing like a good boinkfest, to put things into perspective.  A little lipstick never hurt ANYONE!

Thanks Abe!

“So Much for my Happy Ending . . .”

When we last left Roger, he had thirty days to break it to his firm that he had lost the ONLY account he had brought in, an account that just so happened to  make up the bulk of SCDP’s business – Lucky Strike.

What Roger didn’t count on was that Lucky Strike’s new firm would start talking out of school.  While at dinner with his new wife, Alex Mack . . .

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers this show . . .)

. . . and her father, The DEVIL!

(a.k.a. Ray Wise from The CW’s Reaper — Mad Men’s guest cast is quickly becoming a Who’s Who in cancelled television programs.)

. . . Ken learns from a competitor that Lucky Strike has jumped ship.  Ken rushes to the hospital to alert Poor Pete Campbell . . .

(You’re going to need a lot more than that one shot to handle this news.)

. . .  whose wife is just hours away from delivering his Baby Girl.  Pete immediately calls Don, who has been too busy screwing Faye, and having paranoid freakouts about his “secret identity” to hear about any of this.

“Why does this sh*t keep happening to me?”

Don calls the rest of the partners, including the sartorially brilliant Bert Cooper, who arrives at the office, still clad in his polka dot P.J.’s.  (Aren’t old people adorable?)

The crew meet up in Cooper’s office, looking as if someone just murdered their puppies.

Roger arrives last.  When confronted with the news, he feigns outrage and disbelief over the loss of an account, despite having known about it for almost a month now.  In a pathetic gambit to save face, Roger fakes a phone call to Lee Garner Asshole Jr.’s home to “confirm the rumor.”  He then offers to go down to North Carolina, himself, in order to save the account.  He doesn’t go.   Instead, he holes himself up in  New York hotel, where he propositions Joan for more back-alley, baby-making, sex.

“Soy un perdedor.  I’m a loser Baby!  So, why don’t you kill me?”

When Roger’s offers of Hot Pity F*cks, with the man who may have single-handedly run SCDP to the ground, don’t make Joan come running naked into his arms, he decides to come to her.  And boy, does this guy know how to turn on the charm.  “Is that what you wear to bed now?”  Roger inquires, scoffing at Joan’s admittedly frumpy housedress.

“Only when I’m pregnant with your bastard child,” replies Joan.

Taking cues from Blue Ball Champ, Stan Rizzo, Roger then throws himself at Joan.

(Now THERE’S a lady who’s NOT enjoying herself!)

When Joan inquires as to why Roger feels the need to squeeze her like an almost empty tube of toothpaste, he replies, seductively, “Because I feel like sh*t and you care about me.”

Oh Roger!  You had me at ‘sh*t’!”

Joan pushes Roger away, sadly, saying, “I’m not a solution to your problems.  I’m another problem.”

She’s right.  Now Roger has this problem. . .

Roger and Joan hug “goodbye.”  And then, after sadly confirming that the couple’s tryst in the dark alley will be their last lay EVER, Roger trudges out of Joan apartment, like a man walking toward his death . . .

Our tragic anti-hero doesn’t fare much better at work, when Don and Pete gang up against him for muscling Pete out of Lucky Strike, and then ultimately losing the account.  Don tells his partner, in no uncertain terms, that Pete would have handled Lucky Strike more professionally than Roger did.  When Roger turns to Bert for support.  Bert surprises him by saying, “Lee Garner Jr. never took you seriously, because you never took yourself seriously.”

It just goes to show you, you should never underestimate a man who wears polka dot pajamas . . .

The end of the episode finds Roger at home with his wife, flipping through copies of his recently published memoir Sterling’s Gold.  However, based on the way things are going in Roger’s life now, he may have to retitle it this:

(Now, at least we know who will be playing Roger, in the movie!)

Don Draper:  He’s Bringing Slutty Back!

I’ve got so many notches on my bedpost, it’s starting to look like Swiss Cheese!”

Don is getting some loving from Faye, when he first hears the news about Lucky Strike.

However, the bad news, soon puts a bit of a damper on the fledgling relationship, when he asks her to use inside information she has received from other advertising firms, to help SCDP land accounts with their unhappy clients.  Faye is insulted that Don would even think of using her in this way, and can’t believe her new boyfriend would expect her to jeopardize her own career just to help his.

When Don loses the Glo Coat account, for which he won the Cleo, Don’s mood really goes south, and he starts taking it out on . . . get this . . . soon-to-be-Papa- PETE!

Talk about biting the hand that saved you from an oncoming freight train!  To Pete’s credit, he doesn’t use that opportunity to throw Don under the bus for single-handedly losing the North American Aviation account for the company.  Instead, he simply says, “Just who do you think you are talking to?” which shuts Don right up.

(Unbeknownst to Don, Pete is currently being courted by D-Bag ,Ted Chaugh and his agency . . .

If Don doesn’t straighten up and fly right, he could lose his best account executive for good! )

Speaking of things done in poor taste, just moments after learning that Pete’s wife gave birth to a baby girl . . .

. . . Don and the gang head off to a former competitor’s funeral . . . in hopes of POACHING THE DEAD GUY’S CLIENTS!

“You stay classy, Don Draper!”

Meanwhile, Don’s new secretary, Megan . . .

. . . is working late to get inside Don Draper’s Drawers make sure Don doesn’t exceed his three-drink limit.  She has also busied herself repairing the Cleo Award that Don, in a fit of anger, tossed at the wall, upon losing the Glo Coat account.  Performing this service makes Megan stand out among Don’s previous secretaries (like Allison), who preferred to BREAK items in Don’s office, as opposed to repairing them.

Late at night, after the rest of the office has gone home, Megan asks whether Don needs any sexual favors help.  Megan tells Don that she is a stripper artist, with a strong desire to eventually become the next Peggy Olson or Don Draper.  Yet our suspicions of her true motives are immediately peaked when Don agrees to “teach” her the ins and outs of advertising, and she immediately rises to LOCK DON’S DOOR, despite the fact that the office is EMPTY.

“Business talk” only lasts a few moments, before Megan is shamelessly flirting with the Dapper Don Draper, telling him how much she “admires” him, and how she “can’t stop thinking about him.”  Megan then pretty blatantly propositions Don for sex.  He is initially hesitant.  However, after Megan insists that she won’t end up crying over him the next day, like SOME people .  . .

 .  . . THIS happens . . .

(Well, Megan . . . I guess that’s one way to get A HEAD in business . . .)

After their “tutoring session,” Don arrives back at his apartment (still reeking of Megan), when he learns he has a visitor . . .

As it turns out, Faye has decided she is willing to jeopardize her career for Don the Schlong Draper after all!  In fact, Faye didn’t just tell Don that Heinz Ketchup was upset with its current firm representation, she went as far as to set the company up to meet with SCDP, herself.  (Faye is an IDIOT!)

But, hey, without SCDP, there’s no Mad Men, so . . .

Any “IDIOT” who can keep SCDP in business, and, by extension, Mad Men on the air, is OK in my book . . .

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

 

 

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“You’re no bunny, until some bunny loves you!” – A Recap of Mad Men’s “Hands and Knees”

“She stole my heart, and all I got was this RIDICULOUS HAT!”

If last week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Girls,” who define themselves by their relationships with men, then this week’s episode was about “The Beautiful Men” (some more beautiful than others) who lean on women, and need them for personal validation.

You GO girls!

Oh, and I almost forgot.  This was also the episode where all the main characters’ lives went down the toilet.

Let’s bring on the carnage.  Shall we?

Meet the Parents

For those of you who have seen the film Meet the Parents, Lane Pryce’s dad, makes Jack Byrne (the Robert DeNiro character) . . .

 . . . look like Mickey Mouse.

Speaking of Mickey Mouse, poor Lane had just purchased a stuffed version of America’s favorite cartoon character, as a present for his son, who was set to visit the U.S. that weekend.

But then he learned that his son wasn’t coming.

In his son’s place was Darth Vader his father .  . .

. . . who had flown across the pond, to take Lane home, so that he could “fix his marriage.”  Never mind the fact that Lane’s shrew of a wife  . . .

 .  . . LEFT HIM, not the other way around!  Taking his disappointment over his son’s failure to visit in stride, Lane commandeers his only best friend from work, Don, to come to dinner with him and his father.  Wanting to impress his dad, Lane arranges for the group to have dinner at the classiest restaurant in New York City . . .

Unfortunately, Hooters is closed.  So, Lane settles on the next best thing . . .

Apparently, Lane is a VERY GOOD customer at THIS restaurant.  They’ve even given him a V.I.P. pass.  (I guess that’s what happens when you are, in the words of Don’s lawyer, “schtupping the help.”)

When Lane introduces his father to Toni, one of the waitresses at the club, Mr. Freeze the old bugger is mildly polite, but clearly unimpressed.  Later, based on a conversation between Lane and Toni, we learn that the pair are actually in love.  Toni refers to Lane as “dashing.”  He refers to her as his “Chocolate Bunny” — a nickname that I would find mildly offensive, but Toni didn’t seem to mind.

Lane plans to tell his father the “good news,” before the latter returns to Great Britain.

The following night, Lane invites both Toni and his father to his apartment, and makes the appropriate introductions.  An awkward moment arises, when Lane invites the two to dinner, and his father declines.  Toni then quietly excuses herself, leaving Lane alone with Lord Voldemort his father.  Papa Pryce congratulates Lane on falling in love again, by giving him a friendly pat on the head . . . which would be nice . . . if he wasn’t using his own rather large wooden cane to do the patting . . .

Next thing we know, Lane is ON THE FLOOR, WRITHING IN PAIN!

And when he tries to get up, Lane’s father STEPS ON HIS HAND!

“Put your home in order, either here or there.  You cannot live in between,” seethes Lex Luthor Lane’s father, as he stalks out of the apartment building, slamming the door behind him.

Dr. Evil is impressed.

At the conclusion of the episode, an emotionally and literally, beaten down, Lane informs the rest of the partners at SCDP that he is taking a leave of absence for a month.  He then stalks out, before his colleagues have a chance to protest.

A Bun-ny in the Oven

If I’ve learned anything from watching television dramas, it’s that women ONLY get pregnant when they DON’T WANT TO BE.  Nevermind that Joan and Greg have been screwing like bunnies for months, prior to his deployment — trying to make babies together, to no avail.  All it takes is one post-mugging shag, up against a dirty piss – covered wall in a dark alley, for Roger’s Super Sperm to fertilize Joan’s curvaceous egg.

SCORE!  Take THAT Dr. McRapey!

Ever the gentleman, upon hearing the news, Roger replies with a host of sweet and wonderful words that every woman in this situation wants to hear. 

Here are a few of Roger’s most sincere offers of support and encouragement (Forgive me, if I have to paraphrase a few of them.):

“Are you sure it’s mine?”

“These things happen.”

“Maybe, I’m in love with you?”

“Oh no, I don’t want to raise it!”

“Hey, soldiers knock up their ladies all the time when they are on military leave.  Maybe no one will notice”

“Greg might DIE in Vietnam, anyway.”

“At least let me drive you there [to the abortion clinic].”

Roger Sterling – The Don Juan of Madison Avenue

Words of wisdom aside, the Gallant Roger does have enough sense to accompany Joan to HIS doctor.  (She can’t go to HER gyno, because HE has already given her other abortions and he’s a pervy asshole.)

“AGAIN, Town Strumpet?”

Like a disappointed parent, Roger’s doctor gives him a verbal smackdown for being so “irresponsible.”  (Imagine what this guy would say, if he found out the unwanted child was conceived in a dark alley!)  However, Doctor McJudgy eventually gets off his high horse, long enough to refer to Joan to a well-reputed abortion clinic.

At the abortion clinic, Joan encounters a rather young-looking mother, and her disturbingly young-looking child.

Is that really what 17-year old girls looked like in the mid-60’s?  Because, to me, the girl in this picture looks like she’d be more at home at a Justin Bieber concert, than at her senior prom.

When the child is called inside, her mother breaks down in tears, admitting to Joan that she herself was a mother at just 15, and doesn’t regret it.  And yet, it is still very hard to watch her daughter suffer through this at such a young age.  Ever the picture of poise and decorum, Joan offers words of support to the young mother — commenting on her daughter’s beauty, and telling her that everything will be all right.  The young mother (who is probably fairly close to Joan’s age) feels such a kinship with the SCDP office manager, that she asks Joan how old HER DAUGHTER is  . . .

Ummmm . . .

Without missing a beat, Joan replies, “15.”

The next day, Joan tells Roger that “everything is fine.”  “We have avoided tragedy” and “life goes on.” 

So, of course, we are to assume that Joan’s had the abortion.  But has she, really?

Un-Lucky Strike

Unfortunately for Roger, a prospective bastard bun in Joan’s oven is the LEAST of his problems.  At a dinner meeting with Lucky Strike Scion and MAJOR DICKWAD, Lee Garner, Jr., Roger hears news that, at BEST will make him completely insignificant to SCDP, and at WORST will bankrupt the ENTIRE company.  Lee informs Roger that Lucky Strike, which, last we heard, accounts for over 50% of SCDP’s business, and is Roger’s ONLY major contribution to the company, is pulling out and pursuing greener pastures.

“We’re dead.  You know that,” Roger explains morosely.

Roger begs Lee to reconsider, calling upon the D-bag’s supposed “loyalty” to the firm, after 30 years of representation.  But Lee is unmoved.  “It’s over,” he tells Roger repeatedly.

Roger loses his cool, banging the table with his fist, and knocking glasses over in his wake.  Once he sees that this is a lost cause, Roger ultimately gets Lee to agree to postpone going public with the move for 30 days.  Roger hopes this will give the company time to “get its affairs in order.”  And, maybe, Roger can snag a few new clients, before he has to break the news to the rest of the firm.

Later, we see Roger on the phone with old friends, calling in favors, and hoping something will pan out.  The problem is, Roger isn’t getting any younger, and a lot of his old advertising contacts are now six-feet under.

Roger’s Social Network

At the end of the episode, at a partner’s meeting, Joan asks Roger to provide an update as to the status of Lucky Strike.  In response, he laughs bitterly, and gives the thumbs up sign.

In the words of Don Draper, Roger’s totally “TOASTED.”

Don on the Run

All things considered, Don starts off this episode doing quite well.  He has formed what appears to be a healthy relationship with Faye . . .

He’s cut down on his drinking.  And he’s taking some significant steps toward being a better father to his children.  Don even gets an approving smile from the eternally “Nordic” Betty, when he calls the Francis home, to inform Sally that he has scored her tickets to the Beatles Concert at Shea Stadium.

Instantly forgetting all of her daddy-fueled angst and abandonment issues of the past week, Sally squeals with joy.  It is touching, but loud and extremely annoying, at the same time.  No wonder Don wants to wear earplugs at the concert!

Welcome to the world of fangirling, Sally.  You are officially one of US now!

At the office, Don and the rest of the partners meet with North American Aviation, who inform SCDP that it is getting into military defense.  As a result, the airline will be increasing its advertising budget to $4 million.

The problem, of course, is that, while the aviation company wants SCDP to create an advertising campaign that mentions its defense efforts, it WON’T allow SCDP to view anything about what those efforts actually entail, because all of that information is government classified.

In the next scene, federal agents accost Betty in her home, and interrogate her about her ex- husband, who they claim has applied for security clearance with the Department of Defense.

“So, Don is a Top Ad Exec AND a federal agent?  I smell increased alimony payments!”

Most notably, the Feds ask Betty, if she has “any reason to believe that Don isn’t who he says he is?”

After almost an hour of relentless interrogation, a stricken Betty calls Don at the office, to tell him what has occurred.

Don, who had no recollection whatsoever of applying for any sort of security clearance, immediately takes on the visage of a horror movie victim — specifically, those kids who get calls from the Ghostface Killer in the Scream movies.

“Do you like scary court martials?”

Immediately, Don wonders whether Betty sold him out the G-men.  “I didn’t tell them anything,” insists Betty curtly, expressing a fear that her phone is now being tapped.

Recognizing the danger of talking to his ex-wife on a public phone line, under the circumstances, Don quickly thanks Betty, and hangs up the phone.  He then asks his new secretary Megan what the HECK is going on . . .

Poor Megan!  She was just trying to help!  Pete had sent over the clearance application papers from the Department of Defense.  The papers requested some personal information, such as the party requesting clearance’s name, birthdate, social security number, etc.  Taking initiative, Megan completed the form, using Don’s employment records, and gave the form to Don, so that he could sign it (but not READ it, of course, because “Reading is Hard.”).  Upon receiving his signature on the document, Megan then immediately shipped it out to the Department of Defense, without Don even knowing what it was he signed.

Oops!

I bet Don is missing Miss Blankenship a WHOLE BUNCH right now!

Miss Blankenship would NEVER have completed forms for Don, without getting his approval first . . . because that would involve her actually DOING WORK.  (R.I.P. Miss B!)

Megan is extremely apologetic.  But apologies aren’t going to bring back those forms, which include a host of fake information about “Don Draper.”

Next, Don confronts Pete, who, as we know, is VERY aware of Don’s “mistaken identity” (He had even blackmailed the poor guy about it, a few seasons back.)  Initially, Pete balks at Don’s discomfort, believing that Don brought all this on himself.  But Don levels with Pete, telling him this could cause the agency, MAJOR problems, if the information was leaked.  Pete agrees to speak to his friend at the Department of Defense, to find out what information they have on Dick Whitman Don Draper.

Later in the elevator (where all the BEST Mad Men meetings take place), Don tells Pete to drop the North American Aviation account, and Pete basically tells him to, “Go f*ck himself.” 

“I don’t have to live with this sh*t over my head,” he remarks angrily.

Pete then reminds Don that, while he was gallivanting around L.A., Pete nailed down this account, and brought it from “just cocktails” to $4 million in advertising revenue.

I gotta say, Don . . . the Little Weiner has a point . . .

That night, Pete, looking absolutely ADORABLE in his Big Kid Footie Pajamas, cuddles on the couch with his VERY pregnant wife, Trudie, who’s nighty, though stylish, admittedly does very odd things to her third trimester figure.  So much so, that when I saw her, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this . . .

Seriously, who dresses these two?  Willy Wonka?

“Those Campbells look good enough to eat!”

“How is it that some people just walk through life, dragging their lies with them destroying everything they touch?  No one knows except the honest people, who have to pick up the pieces,” whines Pete to Trudy, as he mulls over the firestorm that Don’s secret will undoubtedly cause for the firm, and him, personally.

(Now, Pete.  You know that I love you, dearly.  And I have many wonderful words to describe you.  Unfortunately, “honest” is not one of them, Mr. Blackmailing Adulterer.)

Trudie begs Pete to unburden himself to her, regarding what is causing him so much stress, but he stays mum on the subject.  Across town, Betty is also keeping Don’s secret from new hubby, Henry Francis . . .

.  . . who can’t understand, for the life of him, why anyone would be anything other than overjoyed to be interrogated at length by FBI agents.  (It’s so much FUN!)

Back at the office, a frantic Don calls his lawyer, and asks that a trust be set up in his children’s name immediately.  This way, they will be taken care of “should anything happen to him.”  Don’s lawyer doesn’t like the idea of Don “running scared.” And yet, the attorney seems more concerned about whether Don is “New Secretary, Megan.” 

(It’s always good to have those priorities in order!)

By the time Faye visits Don in his office, he looks genuinely ill.

And, for a woman who claims not to be maternal, Faye sure takes on the Mommy role here!  She first feels Don’s head for a fever.  She then immediately takes him back to his apartment for a nap and diaper change.  In the hallway of Don’s apartment, two men dressed like Feds inquire as to the address of Don’s neighbors.  Don’s hands begin to shake, as he dashes into the house and rips off his shirt.  “I think I am having a heart attack,” Don wheezes.

Once Faye has assured Don that he is not, in fact, suffering from a heart attack (only a panic attack), the Dapper Draper responds by, yakking in the sink. 

And that, my friends, would be “Barf in Front of a Lady” #2 for Don this Season . . .

One more of those, and he will win a free bottle of toilet bowl cleaner from  Hurlers R’ Us!

Faye then takes an exhausted Don to bed . . .

There, to absolutely EVERYBODY’S surprise, Don, claiming that he is “tired of running,” confesses to Faye his whole sordid Dick Whitman tale.  And, you’ve really gotta hand it to Faye, because she seems totally cool with it.  “I’m glad you told me,” she says softly, before cuddling up with him in bed.

The pair are startled the next morning by a knock at the door.  It’s Pete.

“Well, good morning, colleagues that are obviously screwing one another!  Would you care for a jelly donut?”

After a humiliated Faye skulks out the apartment, Pete informs Don that his name HAS been flagged by the government.  However, if SCDP drops North American Aviation as a client, all investigations into the firm’s personal files will be dropped.  Don tells Pete that they are going to have to drop the account, and the latter storms out in a huff.

The next morning, during a partner’s meeting, a remarkably noble Pete takes FULL responsibility for losing the North American Aviation account, claiming it is the result of his having insulted one of the chairmen, by leaving his name off a document.  Knowing that without Lucky Strike AND North American Aviation SCDP is TOASTED, Self-Righteous Hypocrite Roger reams Pete a new one, for not being more politically correct, when dealing with his clients . . .

Well isn’t THIS the pot calling kettle, Blackface.

 Don makes a half-hearted attempt to stick up for Pete, but doesn’t do nearly enough to help the guy who has totally taken a fall for him, in my opinion. 

Superman, he AIN’T!

As if to further prove his douchebag tendencies, the end of the episode finds Don avoiding the loyal and faithful Faye . . . 

 . . . in favor of ogling the sweet and slightly naive, Megan. 

That final shot of Don admiring his secretary’s “fine form” reminded me quite a bit, of the way he leered at Sally Draper’s teacher, last season. 

And we all know how THAT turned out . . .

Poor Faye!  She thought that having Don confide in her would bring their romantic relationship to a new level of intimacy.  But Don has never wanted his lovers to KNOW the REAL him.  He’d much prefer that Dick Whitman stay dead and buried, FOREVER. 

Faye doesn’t know it, but she may have just become the new Anna Draper.  Could Megan be the next Betty?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Women are like soup? – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Beautiful Girls”

Before we begin our regularly scheduled recap, I feel that it would be appropriate for all of us to pay our last respects to a very special woman.  She was a secretary (ahem, Executive Secretary – Thank you, Joan!), who in a very short amount of time, became an integral part of our Mad Men family.  With her cutting-one liners, and a sharp fashion sense that would inspire women (and men) for generations to come . . .

 . . . Miss Blankenship was always the Life of the Party.  ( I mean this was a woman who could HOLD her liquor . . . literally.)

However, because my own words will surely be inadquate to  express the true wonder that was Miss Blankenship, I have decided to let the SCDP staff eulogize her instead.  What follows is a portrait of the woman, in their words . . .

“She was born in a barn.  And died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut.”  – Bert Cooper

“She went away . . . for awhile.” – Megan, Don’s new secretary

“I’d ask my secretary to do it, but she’s dead.” – Don Draper

“She died the way she lived.  Surrounded by the people she answered phones for.” –  Roger Sterling

“Hey, my mother made that! – Roger Sterling, again (regarding the blanket currently covering Miss Blankenship’s corpse).

Ahhhh, Miss Blankenship!  Always bringing the funny . . . even in death.  We’ll miss you, Girlfriend!

We now return to our regularly scheduled recap . . .

Sex Sells, and Don Draper Smells (like sex)

So, remember last week, when Don and Faye were in the cab following their first date, and Don turned Faye down for sex because he “wasn’t ready yet?”  Yeah . . . that didn’t last long.

The episode opens to lovely rhythmic sounds of SCDP’s favorite (and by “favorite” I mean “only”) Marketing Research Lady, Faye Miller, getting her hump on with the Dapper Don Draper.  Because this is AMC and NOT HBO, we didn’t actually get to see them do it.  (Although, honestly, I kind of WISH they DID show it.  Because it would have been a fabulous way to get the image of Steve Buscemi boning that slutty girl from Boardwalk Empire, during the previous hour, out of my head . . .  You guys saw that too, right?)

Don Draper

NOT Don Draper

Anyway, unfortunate PG-13 rating aside, we did get to watch a sweaty Don and Faye share a little post-coital pillow talk the morning afternoon after.  (Yes, these two took a LONG LUNCH together.)  The pair discuss their remaining appointments for the day.  For a change, it is Don who is more open about his upcoming afternoon, while Faye is more coy.  (Market Researchers have Confidentiality Agreements, perhaps?)  Faye gently asks Don whether she can shower first.  Don agrees to it, but only because HE’S NOT SHOWERING AT ALL!

Note:  I had some really solid sex smell jokes (most involving fish and cheese) to insert here.  But I think including them would be a serious betrayal to my fellow ladies.  Plus, I imagine you could figure them out . . .

Not only is Dirty Don totally cool with going to the office smelling like a Marketing Research Lady, he’s also surprisingly copacetic with Faye staying in his apartment, after he’s left for work.  He even LEAVES HER HIS KEY!

Wow, now that’s trust!  Guess this means he left his Big Ole’ Box of Secrets over at Betty’s house . . .

When Faye expresses the same surprise as the audience about Don’s unusually permissive behavior, Don replies lasciviously, “I’m taking all the interesting stuff with me.”  (He then seductively zips his fly over his sex-drenched undies .  . .)

“All the Interesting Stuff”

Rubbing Joan the RIGHT way . . .

Admittedly, the usually poised, polite, and utterly controlled Joan has been a bit prickly and excitable of late.  So, when she snapped at Roger’s typically adorable attempts at not-so-harmless flirtation, I didn’t really think much of it at first.  But Roger, who apparently didn’t watch last week’s episode of Mad Men (because he wasn’t in it AT ALL), was taken aback and a little hurt by Joan’s rebuff of his advances. 

Roger quickly consulted his secretary for guidance.  She informed him of something that all Mad Men fans knew was coming, we just weren’t sure when, or how it would be brought about.  Of course, Joan’s husband Greg will be shipped off to Vietnam immediately after basic training. 

He will not return home in between.  He will not pass Go.  And he will not collect $200.  Joan, who was just getting used to the idea of having him away for a few weeks, understandably takes the news badly.

Feeling guilty for his insensitivity, Roger hires a troop of pretty ladies with heavy Eastern European accents (all of whom he has probably banged at one time or another) to come to Joan’s house and give her a massage, manicure, and pedicure.  When she approaches his office the next day to thank him, Roger cleverly replies, “I knew I was rubbing you the wrong way.   So, I thought I would have someone rub you the right way.”

(OK.  That line was a little creepy.  But the gesture was definitely sweet.  And the whole thing was so VERY Roger Sterling.)

“Oh, yeah!  I’m the MAN!  You TOTALLY want to rub me now, don’t you?”

And yet, Roger screws things up AGAIN when he immediately asks Joan out, making the latter feel like the whole “massage thing” was just a ploy to get her back into bed with him (which, let’s face it — it probably was).

Lick me Peggy, one more time!

While Roger’s come-ons to Joan may have been a bit crude, they were NOTHING compared to the ones Joyce tried on Peggy.  Face-licking?  Seriously, Joyce?  Who taught you that was an appropriate way to romance a straight lady?  Fido?

When we first see Peggy, Joyce has stopped by her office unannounced, AGAIN (What’s the matter, Joyce?  Isn’t there a phone on your desk, amidst all those Naked Lady Pics that you were carrying around, when we first met you?)  “Peggy, your boyfriend is here,” snorts Art Director, Stan. 

(You know, I hate to say it, because he’s SUCH a MAJOR TOOL.  And he’s DEFINITELY no SAL ROMANO!  But, this guy is starting to grow on me.  I think its because of the adorable little crush he’s developed on Peggy, ever since he saw her nude, and got a b*ner from it.  Sure, he has no shot in heck of ever getting anywhere with her.  Yet, it’s still oddly endearing.  Stan is like the little boy in first grade, who pulls the little girl’s pig tails, and throws paper airplanes at her, because he can’t think of any other way to let her know he likes her.)

When both Peggy and Joyce seem unamused or affected by Stan’s mildly humorous lesbian jokes, he changes tactics.  “You [Joyce] can NEVER do for a girl [Peggy] what a guy [me – Stan] can do,” Stan insists.  (Awww, way too obvious, kiddo!)

Joyce responds by licking Peggy’s face (which is TOTALLY something that any guy – and any K-9 — can DO, by the way, not that they would all want to).  The whole exchange was admittedly pretty funny.  But what really made the scene, for me, was Stan’s facial expression, as he watched Joyce orally remove the blush from Peggy’s cheek . .  .

Ummm . . . yeah, Peggy.  If you want your face licked, than Stan probaby isn’t your guy.  Peggy and Joyce, ultimately, make plans to meet for drinks.  They then leave Stan alone to LICK his wounds, and his . .  .

Honest Abe strikes out . . .

It seems that Stan isn’t the only one having a difficult time getting inside the Peggy Olson Pantalones.  Peggy’s new suitor, Abe, though he got off to a promising start, isn’t fairing much better.  Apparently, Joyce, despite obviously being just as in love with Peggy as Stan, had a fairly altruistic reason for inviting Peggy out for drinks.  The whole outing was just a ruse to reunite Peggy with her cute makeout buddy from a few episodes back, Abe.

The date starts pleasantly enough.  However, when Abe starts moving the discussion over to the Civil Rights movement and the evil of corporations, the typically well-spoken Peggy, suddenly, finds herself at a loss for words.  Apparently, Peggy only watches the news on television to see the commercials, and only reads newspapers for the advertisements.  She simply had no idea that one of the companies SCDP worked for, Fillmore Motors, refuses to hire black people.

The discussion quickly morphs into a heated debate about corporate responsibility versus personal and ethical responsibility.  Peggy wisely analogizes the Civil Rights movement with the then-fledgling Women’s Rights movement.  She argues about how difficult it is for women like Peggy to break through the corporate glass ceiling.  And yet, she did it.  She, therefore, wonders, why other oppressed minorities can’t work to do the same thing.  Abe discounts the analogy offhand, mocking the absurdity of a “Women’s Rights March.”  This offends Peggy, and causes her to promptly excuse herself from the bar.

And yet, Abe is not one to go down without a fight.  He arrives at Peggy’s office the next day, unannounced.  (AGAIN?  Seriously, what is with these new hippies?)

But Abe has not come empty handed.  Apparently, he has written a poem to Peggy, and he would like her to read it immediately, while he waits in the office for her reply.  Intrigued by the gesture, Peggy dashes off to read the poem, which she secretly hopes will go something like this:

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

Civil Rights are sexy,

but not as HOT as YOU!

Unfortunately, Abe’s doesn’t say that at all.

And, while we don’t get to read it, we are led to believe that it makes some sort of comparison between SCDP and Nazis?  “If anybody saw this [poem], I could get fired!”  Peggy exclaims, ripping it to pieces right in front of the Poor Sap, before storming off AGAIN!

TWO!

And yet, despite outward appearances to the contrary, there is evidence, during the second half of the episode, that would seem to suggest that Abe HAD changed Peggy’s mind about Civil Rights, Politics, and the ways in which the two sometimes conflict with the corporate world.  Well . . . if not changed her mind per se, at least opened it to new possibilities.  

This becomes evident when the SCDP crew is trying to come up with a song to play in the background of a Fillmore Motors TV and radio commercial, and Peggy dryly suggests a song by Harry Bellefonte.  When she is promptly shut down by her colleagues, Peggy innocently inquires, “Why are we working for a client that refuses to hire [black people]?”

To this, Don replies, “Our job is to sell our client’s products, not to make them like [black people.]”

When Peggy’s coworkers tease her about this, Peggy storms out of the office, for about the 80th time this season . . .

When Faye met Sally . . .

Don is at a client meeting with Fillmore Motors (they of the Racist Hiring Practices), when he gently interrupted by Receptionist -Soon-to-Be Don’s-New-Secretary Megan, who informs Don that his daughter is at the office .  . . along with some random elderly looking woman, who wears a very large hat, which, to me, looks a bit like this:

Apparently Random Elderly Woman in Hat found Sally hiding from the conductor on her train.  “I wanted to see you, but I didn’t have enough money,” Sally says sheepishly.

The admission causes Don’s face to look like this:

Things get even worse, when Random Elderly Woman gets a little bee in her bonnet (no pun intended), about what crappy parents Betty and Don are. She lets Don know her feeling in no uncertain terms, when Don tries to pay her for her time and trouble.  After Random Elderly Woman in Hat leaves, Don calls Betty .  . .

Oddly enough, this screencap DID NOT come from this episode.  Apparently, Betty spends a lot of time on this show on the phone (usually with Don), looking severely pissed off.

When Don tells Betty that she should come pick up her daughter, who was wandering the NYC train system alone, Betty . . . couldn’t give two cr*ps.

In fact, she refuses to pick up Sally until the following day.  “You think it’s so much fun to be her parent, you do it,” she yells

(Golly gee!  What a nice thing to say about your kid!  I’m so glad Sally has two parents that really value the time they spend with her.)

Don gives Miss Blankenship three instructions before heading back to his meeting: (1) watch Sally; (2) answer the phones; and (3) don’t say anything.  She does only one of those things.  And, considering that she died right around the time Betty called (Apparently, that shrew’s voice could kill ANYONE), you can probably guess which of the three tasks Miss Blankenship was able to follow.  When Peggy tries to talk to Miss Blankenship, the poor old lady KEELS OVER, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER!

Peggy screams, and Don is interrupted from his meeting once again.  He walks into this scene:

Sally is tucked safely in Don’s office at the time, and sees nothing.  This is good, because if any child can’t handle witnessing more traumatic moments, it’s Sally!  As is common during situations like this (and they happen quite often among the SCDP folks) .  . .

Joan offers to take care of the situation — contacting the coroner, having a blanket in Roger’s office (“My mother MADE me THAT!”) draped over Miss Blankenship’s lifeless body, and sneaking the corpse out the back of the office, so that the sight of her won’t disturb the client meeting already in progress.  (Unfortunately, Don and Faye get ringside seats to the whole thing from where they are seated in the conference room .  . . and so do we.)

After the seemingly interminable meeting, a frantic Don asks Faye to take Sally back to Don’s apartment and watch her until he arrives home.  “Me?”  Faye asks incredulously.

“Well, I would ask my secretary to do it, but she’s DEAD!”  Don replies, matter-of-factly.

(Good ole Don — always bringing the funny, even in times of crisis.)

“What do I tell her I am?”  Faye inquires.

“You are Faye,” Don answers exasperatedy, wondering for a second, whether he should have picked a SMARTER girlfriend, like Bethany, or Doris the Waitress, or that prostitute that liked to slap his face during sex.  (Hey, it worked in Pretty Woman!)

To further prove her intelligence, just moments after Don introduces Faye to Sally by name, Faye tells Sally, in a ridiculously childish voice, through which each word is painstakingly enunciated, “Hello . . .  my . . . name . . . is . . . Faye.”

But, this is what Sally heard . . .

. . . and rightly so!

Yet, surprisingly, things go pretty A-OK for Sally and Faye back at Don’s apartment.  In fact, when Don comes back, Sally is in a pretty jubilant mood, considering all that happened.  After Faye leaves, the pair order pizza. 

“Are you going to marry, Faye?”  Sally asks inquisitively, between bites of pizza.

NO DON!  If you know what’s good for you, you will stay single for a LONG, LONG, TIME . . . or at least until after that long stint in rehab.

Don says, “No.”

To Don’s surprise (and mine), when Don asks Sally in turn if she likes Faye, Sally says, “Yes!” (apparently, ANYONE would be a better mother than Betty . . . even this monkey)

That night before going to bed, Sally asks if she and her brothers can come live with Don.  “I’ll be really good.  I will take care of my brothers,” Sally pleads.

Don, who is watching his sex life go out the window, remains calm on the outside, but inside he is pooping a brick.  “Good night, Sally,” he says ignoring her.

He can’t get out of that bedroom fast enough . . .

Midnight Mugging in NYC – The ULTIMATE Aphrodisiac

Back at the office, Roger and Joan are still very freaked out by the untimely death of Miss Blankenship.  “She died like she lived, surrounded by the people she answered phones for,” mused Roger.  “I DO NOT want to die in this office.  I almost did.  TWICE.”

Roger begs Joan to go out for coffee with him, for the third time in this episode.  Except, this time, Joan finally agrees.

The married couple (as in both are married, just not to eachother) have a great time on their date, reminiscing about the past.  “Everytime, I think back, all the good stuff was with you,” Roger insists.

On the walk home, Joan notes how much the neighborhood has changed.  And, as if to prove that point, Joan and Roger are held at gunpoint and mugged.  Fortunately for Joan, Roger doesn’t try to play vigilante or hero.  He calmly hands over his own wallet and watch, as well as, upon request, Joan’s purse.  The mugger’s request for Joan’s wedding ring elicits tears from her, but she ultimately complies.  Then, thankfully, the mugger leaves.

Relieved, terrified, and wrapped up in the emotional roller coaster of the past few days, Roger and Joan embrace.  And then they do more than embrace . . .

When Roger begins to pull away, Joan whispers, “Don’t stop,” and so he doesn’t . . .

(Now, while it was nice to see these two crazy kids doing it again, I couldn’t help but notice they were SCREWING IN A DIRTY DARK ALLEY KNOWN TO BE FREQUENTED BY MUGGERS WITH GUNS . . . just saying.)

The following morning, Bert struggles to write Miss Blankenship’s obituary.  He doesn’t want Don to do it, because Don is kind of an asshole didn’t know Miss Blankenship very well.  “She was born in a barn, and died on the 37th floor of a New York skyscraper.  She was an astronaut,” offers Bert morosely.

Joan is called in to finish the job, and does so with an appropriate, if rather impersonal, obituary statement.  But before she can leave, Roger corners her.  “I feel something for you,” Roger proclaims.  “Tell me that you don’t feel it too.”

“I’m not sorry for what we did,” replies Joan.  “But I’m married, and so are you.”

Not that insignificant details such as these have stopped Roger before . . .

Nothing says loving like rum in your French Toast . . .

The next morning, Don awakens to the less than familiar sound of puttering in the kitchen.  Apparently, Sally has decided to cook Daddy breakfast.  Doing a disturbingly accurate impersonation of Betty at her most seductively kittenish, Sally struts into the living room of Don’s apartment carrying two trays.  “I hope you like French Toast,” she offers.

Don DOES like French toast.  Except this French Toast tastes funny.  “What’s in this?”  Don asks.

“Poison Miss Butterworth’s” Sally replies.

“Show it to me.”

Sally gets the bottle from the cabinet.  It looks like this . . .

“That’s rum.  Learn to read labels,” Don says gruffly, as he continues to eat.

“Does it taste bad?”  Sally inquires nervously.

“Not really,” answers the ALCOHOLIC.

Using her best Betty-pout, Sally commandeers Don into a morning at the zoo.   “You finish eating.  I’ll get ready,” she instructs.

The father / daughter pair have a great morning — such a great morning, in fact, that when it comes time for Betty to pick Sally up at the office, she doesn’t want to go home.  “I want to stay with you.  I hate it there [at Evil Betty’s House].”

When Don tries to reason with Sally, she throws a tantrum.  So, Don requests Faye’s help once again.  This time it doesn’t go so well.  Sally lashes out at Faye, and dashes off screaming down the hall.  Sally then trips and falls on her face, in front of the entire secretarial pool.  Fortunately, the surprisingly maternal Megan is there to save the day.

Megan gives Sally a sweet hug.  “I fall down all the time,” Megan offers gently, comforting the young girl, like a natural mother would.

When Betty arrives at the office, Sally obediently takes her hand, “Goodbye, Daddy,” she says solemnly, as if it will be the last time she will ever see him.

Back in Don’s office, Faye is PISSED at Don for putting her in the situation he did with Sally.  “I’m not good with kids.  I’ve made that sacrifice in my life.  I don’t consider it a failure,” insists Faye.

Fortunately, for Faye, neither does Don consider it a failure.  (After all, clearly he’s not good with kids, either.)  The two end the episode in a sweet embrace.

Chicken Soup for Peggy’s soul

“I don’t know what the heck that girl is talking about!”

Back in Peggy’s office, Joyce has returned to get the details on Peggy’s argument with Abe.  “Men think that they are like soup . . .” Joyce offers randomly, upong getting the 411.

“Women are expected to be the pots.”

“Abe is a good soup.  But I think women can be soup too,” concludes Joyce.

Ummm yeah.  All I got out of that, Joyce, was “Peggy, I want to sleep with you.”

Joyce asks Peggy out for more face licking drinks again, but Peggy declines.

“Are you angry or lovesick,” Joyce wonders.

“I don’t know,” says Peggy, before seeing Joyce out.

Peggy then heads to the elevator herself, where she converges upon two other women, Faye and Joan.  These three very different women, are obviously headed in three very different directions.  The question is:  Where are they going?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Swimming with Sharks – A Recap of Mad Men’s “The Summer Man”

Anyone out there who thinks that the writers of Mad Men don’t care about their fans, clearly hasn’t watched the show’s last two episodes.  Last week, Matt Weiner & Co., showed their love, by offering up one of the best-written, most hilarious, and most poignant hours on television of all time.  This week, that same group of writers chose, as a framing device for their episode, the image of a half-naked Jon Hamm, swimming laps in a crystal clear pool.

It just doesn’t get much better than that, Folks! 

Tonight’s installment of Mad Men was, more or less, split into three distinct storylines: (1) Don Draper’s first brave steps in the Wonderful World of Relative Sobriety, and his attempts to “tame” the three blondes in his life;

(2) Betty’s temper tantrum, as a result of seeing Don out with another woman, who is basically her doppelganger (minus a few years);

(3) and Joan’s struggles with her her husband leaving for Vietnam, and with office bullying.

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Often-Unappreciated Art of Navel Gazing

Dear Diary,

Sometimes, I find it a curse to be so damn attractive.  For example, this morning I was two whole hours late for work — all because  I couldn’t stop staring at myself in the bathroom mirror.  And all those WOMEN!  And all that SEX!  A guy can only have so much sex!  You know, I’m not in my twenties anymore.  I often have nightmares that, one day, the darn thing will just shrivel up and fall off . . .

“When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him,” Don writes in the opening moments of the episode.

As he ruminates on the meaning of life, we are treated to alternating shots of our Sexy Scribe: alone in his apartment; swimming laps at the local pool (yay!); and taking a few moments to bask in the summer sun, on his way to work.

Given the vast amount of guffaws and snorts he and Peggy had at Roger’s expense last week, I would hate to think Don is hypocritcally self-indulgent enough to draft his own memoir.  (Although, admittedly, THAT would probably be a pretty juicy read.) 

No.  I actually think Don’s daily journal writings serve much the same purpose as his daily visits to the pool.  They are meant to re-instill in his life a certain amount of discipline, and to help him organize his recently liquor-clouded thoughts. 

 “They say, as soon as you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem,” Don posits, via voiceover.

Admitting THAT to himself, must have been a real punch in the face . . .

Through Don’s narrative, we not only learn how flowery his writing can be, when he’s not pitching advertisements, we also learn that he never graduated high school.  While it is obvious that this is a source of embarrassment for Don, and yet another skeleton in his closet, upon learning this, I couldn’t help but once again be impressed by how far Don came in life, despite such vastly humble beginnings.  “Drinking Problem” or not, you can’t take that away from him.

But, alas, it is tough to be sober in an office full of drunks  — particularly when you have an enabling secretary, like Miss. Blankenship.

Since she has started working as Don’s secretary, regularly refreshing the Executive’s booze supply, is probably the ONLY task she HASN’T screwed up . . . unfortunately.

“I’m set!”  Don growls, as Miss Blankenship offers him what looks like the entire top shelf of the local sports bar, thereby threatening to erase ALL the progress Don exhibited during the aforementioned earlier scenes.

“You are . . . and then you’re NOT,” retorts Dame Edna, fresh off a cataract surgery, which, if it is at all possible, seems to have left her even blinder than before, despite her claims to the contrary.

“Bring that stuff back to the store, and get me some cigarettes,” demands Don.

Ahhh, spoken like a true AA member . . .

And yet, unlike the members of that organization, Don has NOT quick drinking cold turkey.  To do so at a place like SCDP would, at best raise eyebrows, and, at worst, isolate Don from his colleagues.  (Speaking of Outcasted Sober Dudes, where has Freddy Rumsen been lately?)

Singing karaoke at the local cabaret, perhaps?

Don’s daily battles against the All-Mighty Bottle were perhaps best exhibited in a scene where he, Peggy, Ken and Stan were ironing out a new pitch idea for Mountain Dew.  The world literally went silent for Don, as he stared at Peggy’s pouty lips.  In all my naivety, I initially wondered whether the Dapper Don had recently fallen for our Peppy Peggy, as a result of their intense bonding session last week . . .

 . . . but then, when he started eying Ken’s and Stan’s lips too (as well as the ice clinking against the inner rims of their scotch glasses), I knew I had been mistaken.

Meanwhile, Don learns that Baby Gene (Toddler Gene?)’s Second Birthday Party is the upcoming Sunday, and Papa D is not invited.  In fact, he has been explicitly dis-invited,  both by Betty . . .

My people are Nordic.

 and Betty’s new husband, the increasingly dour, Henry Francis.

My people are A**holes.

To Don’s credit, rather than stewing over this, he spends his evenings dating people who look suspiciously like Betty . . .

“Every time I go out with you, it feels like we are on a first date.”

“Which one are you again?”

To help refresh Don’s memory as to who she is, Bethany does something to Don in the backseat of the cab that I can’t really tell you about here.  This is a Family Blog, after all.  I CAN show you, however.

Just substitute the bottle for an overused part of Don’s anatomy . . .

“To be continued,” coos Bethany lasciviously, as she crawls over Don to get out of the cab.  (Good lord!  I hope she didn’t leave any “unfinished business” behind!)

Sexually satisfied, but clearly unimpressed, Don writes in his diary, “I bet she spent all night coming up with that line.”

Then, just to show he’s a “true gentleman” with “no ill intentions” he finishes off the entry with a wishful thinking passage about Bethany’s bunkmates at the Barbizon hotel “touching themselves to sleep.”

Yeah . . . you stay classy, Don Draper!

Also touching herself to sleep, while dreaming of Don is THIS LADY . . .

. . . who I’ve referred to only as “Marketing Research Lady” since this season began; because, honestly, she never seemed all that important.  However, now that she has officially become Don’s Next Conquest, the character will hereinafter be referred to by her REAL name, Faye.  Don and Faye are working on something together in the office (But I don’t know what, because I’m still not 100% clear as to what exactly it is this woman DOES), when he suggests they relocate to a restaurant somewhere nearby.

Having struck out quite a few times with Faye in the past, Don knew he had the Green Light this time, because he overheard Faye breaking up with her boyfriend because . .  . she doesn’t cook.

(Hey Don!  I don’t cook either.  Would you like to go out with ME? :))

“Just so we’re clear here.  You are asking me out to dinner?”  Faye inquires, in a thick New Jersey Mob Princess accent that would make Carmela Soprano proud.

“Oh Donny!  This one’s a REAL KEEP-AH!”

Don admits that, yes, he is asking her out on a date.   So, Faye suggests something a bit more formal, and non-work related.  That night, the pair go out someplace fancy.  And I’ve gotta say, if Don’s and Bethany’s dates always seem like first, Don’s and Faye’s first date seemed much more like a THIRD, if you know what I mean. 😉  The two engaged in genuinely intelligent conversation, both revealing bits of their personal lives to one another.  Don even discussed his guilt over not being able to attend Baby Gene’s birthday.

In the taxi on the way home,  like Bethany, Faye also started getting VERY friendly with our Don Juan Draper.

Well . .  . maybe not THAT friendly.

Unlike Bethany, however, Faye doesn’t seem to be the “To Be Continued” type.  Instead, she immediately asks Don where his apartment is . . .

And he DENIES HER!

Remember, this is a man who, last week, probably wouldn’t have denied sex to a Friendly Armadillo . . .

Don tells Faye that he’s going to just walk her to her door.  “Because that’s all I can do right now.  I’m not ready to say Good Night, yet.”

Awwww!  Look who’s being a Real Gentleman for a change!  YOU GO DON!

These actually belong to Faye . . .

In yet another mature moment for the episode, Don cathartically tosses away the items he had in storage in Betty’s garage . . .

 . . . and attends Baby Gene’s Birthday Party!

That’s a WHOLE LOTTA self improvement, for a guy who, just last week, was puking on himself, and losing fist fights to Duck Phillips!

Baby Betty Needs a Bottle

“But Dad HENRRRRYYYYY!  You said we could go to the CANDY STORE after dinner.  I WANT CANNNNNNDDDDY!”

The Honeymoon Period is SO over, at the Francis / Draper residence!  This fact becomes more than evident, when Henry takes Betty to a business dinner with an important political consultant, and the group has a run-in with Don and Bethany . . .

AWKWARD!

Betty basically flips out.  She’s uncommonly icy (even for HER) to Henry’s important dinner guest, drinks gimlets like a fish throughout the meal, and then rushes off to hide in a bathroom stall, until the meal is over.  In the car on the way home, Henry spanks Betty and sends her to Time Out accuses her of being a child, a wino, and a drunk, who is not over her first marriage.  (Awww, how sweet!) 

The next morning, a very hungover and bleary-eyed Betty apologizes profusely for her bad behavior.  Henry accepts the gesture, but still seems kind of pissed.

And yet, Daddy Hubby looks on with pride, as Betty gallantly hands Baby Gene over to Don at the tot’s birthday party, a moderately believable plastic smile pasted on her face the whole time.  When Henry asks her if she is OK with Don’s presence, she replies in the affirmative.  “We have EVERYTHING!”

But do they, REALLY?

The VERY Brief Rise and Fall of Joey Baird

It looks like we’ll have to wait until they put you on another TV show, before I get to see you shirtless again.  Dammit,  Matt Long!  Why did your character have to be such a DOUCHE!

*Winks and waves at Shirtless Joey*  “CALL ME!”

*Squeals with joy at the news that SCDP now has a vacancy in its Art Department*

When the episode opens, Ken, Stan, Joey, and this random no-named new guy, who seems to have magically appeared during this episode, and yet everybody on the show acts like he’s been there the whole time . . .

“Who the heck are you?”

 . . . are loudly bucking the office vending machine, which somehow ate Joey’s watch.  “I feel like I’m Margaret Mead,” jokes Peggy, as she observes the male species in its natural habitat, hunting for a Rolex.

Then Joan, who I normally adore, but, in this episode, at least, was somewhat of a, to use her own words, “humorless b*tch” (not that she didn’t deserve to be, under the circumstances), storms outside to yell at the boys to keep it down.

“Yes, MOM!”  Joey yells out after her.

Enraged at the part-timer’s sheer disrespect, Joan calls Joey into her office to let him know that she “has a problem with him now.”

“What do you do all day, besides walking aroun this office, like you’re trying to get raped?”  Joey inquires.

Oh, he did NOT just say that!  WHO says stuff like that?  What were you, raised in a BARN?

When Don asks Joan to switch Joey over to full time so that he can put in some extra hours on an important account, Joan bristles at the thought of seeing that goat chew cud around the office Monday through Friday.  So, she stretches the truth a little bit.  “I’m not sure he’s the right fit.  I’ve been hearing complaints.”

“From who?”  Peggy inquires, having at least started the season being fairly tight with Joey Goat.  (Remember the whole John / Marsha bit, from Episode 1?)

“OK.  Let’s hear one dirty story,” suggests Don, gamely.

But Joan refuses to reveal a “dirty story” about Joey Goat, and Peggy becomes suspicious.  Later, she pulls Joey away from a Casting Couch session with Harry . . .

“Oh Joey!  You’re so handsome.  Do exactly as I say, and I can make you the next Jed Clampett . . . *points to autographed picture on his desk*

“He can play my pet goat!”

 . . . and warns him to lay off Joan, who clearly has it in for him now. 

“Listen, every office has a Joan.  My MOTHER was a Joan.  She even even wore a pen around her neck, so everyone would stare at her tits,” Joey retorts

(WOAHHH, Nelly!  Oedipal Complex much, kiddo?  The only time you should be staring so intently at your mother’s rack is when your breast-feeding.  After that, it’s just icky!)

But office Bully Goats are the least of Joan’s problems.  At home, she is faced with the lingering threat of her husband dying in the Vietnam war.  In a feeble attempt to be helpful, Dr. Greg suggests that Joan won’t even miss him while he’s gone, because she will be so busy hanging out with “all her friends at work.”

(No wonder you were such a bad surgeon, Dr. Greg.  Your timing SUCKS!)

Joan, of course, bawls at this comment, thus closing off any chance Dr. Greg ever had of getting laid that night.

Lots of these going around tonight . . .

The next day, Joey Goat and his Goat Posse . . .

. . . are targeting Joan once again.  But this time, they use artwork . . .

. . . specifically, “artwork” which suggests that Joan is doing THIS  . . .

 . . . to Lane . . .

“Oh my!  Who knew my Beefsteak Belt Buckle would be put to use again so soon!”

Peggy is in Joan’s office, when the picture is discovered.  So, she is understandably horrified, on Joan’s behalf.

But Joan just calmly walks outside and tells the artists, more or less, that she doesn’t like them, and hopes they all die in Vietnam.

“So . . . in other words . . . you DON’T wanna sleep with us?”

Peggy, in a rare attempt at sisterly solidarity, approaches Don about Joey’s bad behavior toward Joan.  While Don agrees the cartoon is reprehensible, he encourages Peggy to handle the matter on her own, so as to gain the respect of her peers.  Peggy pulls Joey Goat aside and insists that he apologize to Joan.  “That’s what I hate about working with women.  They have no sense of humor,” remarks the Tool.

Unable to reason with the bastard, Peggy fires his ass.  Off walks Joey Goat into the sunset, teeny tiny tail between his legs.  “Party’s over, boys,” he brays to his entourage, fielding one last invite for “drinks etc.” from Harry, before shutting the door on SCDP for good.

“That was Baaaaaaaaaaad!”

In the elevator on the way out of work, Peggy encounters Joans, and eagerly gives her the good news, about how she single-handedly sent Joey Goat to the Glue Factory.

But Joan is unimpressed.

“I defended you,” Peggy pouts.

Joan claims she was handling the matter in her own way, by meeting with the client at issue, and quietly having Joey taken off the account.  “It’s the same result,” Peggy mumbles. 

“All you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary, and you are just another humorless bitch.  Have a nice weekend, Peggy.”

That couldn’t have felt good . . .

While Joan’s prophecy is quite possibly true, her nastiness to the woman who could have one day become the lonely office manager’s ONE female friend in the office seemed unnecessarily harsh.  It couldn’t have been easy for Peggy, who has always wanted desperately to be “one of the boys” to fire a former friend, and risk being ostracized by her co-workers, as a result. 

This elevator exchange further delineates the different paths these two women chose, in creating their futures: Joan representing the more traditional early 1960’s woman, both cunning and overtly feminine; and Peggy representing the New Feminist, independent and career-oriented.

So, what did you think of “The Summer Man?”  Do you believe Don will stick to his strict regimen of swimming, writing and drinking in moderation?  Is Faye a Keep-ah?  How long do you give Betty before she’s embroiled in a second divorce?  Can Joan and Peggy ever truly become friends, despite their differences?  Would you ever watch a television show produced by Harry Crane and starring Joey Goat? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

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